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  • 1.
    My friend Bela, an American woman my age, told me," I can imagine my life very well without a man, but I cannot at all imagine my life without girl - friends!"

    Yesterday I listened to a radio program, where a philosopher talked about FRIENDSHIP and that the ancient Greek philosophers thought that friendship was the highest form of love that could exist in between humans. They considered it "higher" than romantic or family - love, because it is freer of social expectations, rules and conventions.

    I remember an article that talked about which ingredients in their relationship makes some marriage - couples last forever. What the researchers discovered as the glue that can hold two people together for a lifetime was: besides being a man and a woman and lovers and parents, these couples had managed to become each other´s best friend. (PSYCHOLOGY TODAY many, many years ago).

    At this stage of my life I feel far beyond flirting and searching for romantic affairs. But I still do fall in love with people in friendship, mostly with women. It feels quite similar to general falling in love, but there is no sexual desire involved and very little or no possessiveness at all. It does feel a lot freer. It feels just like ecstasy!

    It happened about a year ago to me with a singer from Iceland, a woman, who also joined COWBIRD some time ago.

    It happened again to me last January, when two Danish therapists came to town and I organized a workshop of Trauma - Release - Exercises with them. Apart from the workshop I just loved to be with these two women, we laughed, we talked, and we shared our secrets as if we had known each other for many lifetimes.

    Two days ago again I had a love like this falling down from the heavens for me. I sat for many hours with a couple - he Mexican, she from NY - and we opened our hearts and were like sisters and brothers, so close. We listened with fascination to each others´ life stories, we took each others´ hands, and we became giddy and very happy. When this happens I completely put aside my bad eyesight and manage to do whatever as if there was nothing wrong whatsoever with my retinas. All my other ailments, of which I had been concentrated on several, vanished into thin air. I felt young and smart and joyful. I felt ageless.

    What a joy to be alive to have another experience like this showering own on me!

    I remember that my friend Marcey had encounters like this until shortly before she died with nearly 98 years old.... Marcey Jacobson

    About once a year I meet Patricia Greenfield, an anthropological psychologist , who has written a great book about the women - weavers of the Tzotzil community of Zinacantan here in Chiapas and how their weaving is evolving with modern times. Patricia was a friend of Marcey and Janet and also Gayle; we always sit and chat a bit.

    She brought me more of her books to sell in my gallery and we had a coffee together.

    Patricia is a lady maybe a couple of years older than I, handsome, often she has come introducing new boy - friends to me. Not this time, though. She says, it did not work out well with her last one.

    She exclaims," Kiki, I really like you red hair, I love it!"

    I look at her fine, but a little drab and brownishly dyed hair and suggest," You would really look well spicing your hair color a bit up with henna!"

    Patricia laughs nervously and waves me off with both her hands, she repeats screaming "Oh no", and "No, no no! No, Kiki, I am a professor at the university, I could impossibly turn up with orange - red hair like that in front of my students!"She also dyes her hair bright red, that is why my fading eyes manage to spot her sitting all alone on the little plaza in front of her restaurant. She is the soul of her restaurant, she works very, very hard and whenever we go to eat there, we hug and say hello and good - bye very friendly, a lot of sympathy in the air that vibrates between us, but nothing more.

    I like her a lot, a motherly woman a bit younger than I, who carries the wonderful name of Tiziana.

    She also spots and calls out to me. I stop. She wants more than hello and a quick good - bye. She takes my hand and I enjoy the soft touch of her warm and pleasant skin. She pulls me toward herself and the curb of the street, where we both sit down and then the tears flow out her eyes and she tells me the story of her life. Cars drive by, employees come and ask her for this or that, her sister wants to know the recipe for the raviolis today, her daughter, who is her partner in the business, says hello.

    Tiziana and I sit there for a long time, I listen, we share, our hands entwined. Something beautiful is growing between us.

    All the years of eating exquisite dishes in her restaurant, of friendly hellos and good - byes have been just a long prelude.....

    Through my art I have met wonderful human - beings, mostly women.

    This year so far I have met three Susannas this way: Susanne from Danmark, Susana from Argentina and Shoshana from California. The year before it was Suzana from Germany, who works day and night trying to save Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. The others are therapists, a bit younger than I or a bit older.

    With all of the Susana - Shoshanas I meet we sit together and we do not stop sharing, touching each other´s hands and arms again and again, hugging and kissing.

    It is as if we have known each other forever, but somehow were separated for a very long time and now have found each other again.

    Just like the other day with Tiziana, who obviously is not a Susanna, sitting on the street curb: love suddenly flows between women and me.

    Can you imagine the joy?

    No, the eye of the hurricane is not yet above my head.

    My husband is home and trying to survive so much booze for so many days.

    But last night my gynecologist found a cyst on one of my ovaries, which should not be there. More tests have to be done. Another worry, even though she strongly advised me to not worry.

    These days have been intense with problems, but also with friends and business - partners coming to socialize, I am trying to find work for a masseuse in the hotel, a chef in the restaurant, a place in a psychiatric hospital for my ex - daughter - in - law in Mexico - City. For that reason I even talked to her Dad, who is one of the few human - beings I do not respect and cherish at all. Yes, I have been busy and maybe useful for some, which makes me feel good, because my little unimportant life gains some meaning for a while.

    There was this evening last Thursday with two new women - friends in a nice bar. We sipped cold white wine with a ginger schnapps one of them had brought. So good, so refreshing, it made me imagine how the eye of the hurricane of life will feel, when it finally arrives....

    Both women have been nurses accompanying dying people, many of who were children, for many years. We sat there and had the most wonderful and inspiring and deep talk you can imagine. I like deep talk. Always I search for that. This was one good one. Time flew.

    One of the nurses - a Korean woman - finally told us that she has once lived 8 weeks without food or drink.

    If anybody else would have told me this, I would have laughed. But I could not laugh. She was serious. I perceive her neither as a nutcase nor as a mentally unstable person, in fact not at all, she actually seems to be very centered and very happy, muy alegre, indeed.

    Some time ago I watched a documentary about Nepal´s Buddha - Boy, who finally mysteriously disappeared. He also seemed to never eat or drink. Others claim to live without food or drink in India. The documentary did not come to any conclusion in any of the cases exposed.

    I love the woman, who claimes to have lived off pure PRANA. I respect her, I do not know what to think of this, so I have decided to put my thinking about living without any food or drink aside for now. It sure would solve our world´s most pressing problems.

    "Why did you return to eating and drinking?" I asked her

    She laughed,"Because I like to eat. And, you know: when you do not buy or prepare or eat food or go to the toilet once in a while, the day gets so much longer, there is so much more empty time, I got bored!"

    Now, THAT I can imagine very vividly.

    Several weeks ago collaborators of a magazine published by the most fancy shopping mall in Tuxtla, the capital of our state, did an interview with me. After the interview was published, a woman from a small town outside of Tuxtla sent me several phone messages. She had read the article and told me she trusted me, she wanted to be in contact. First I felt a bit uncomfortable, afraid this person might want something from me now that maybe I would not like to give as much as she needed: attention.

    But she slowed down in the amount of messages she sent. All short messages. Maybe 40 in total by today. She tells me that she went to school, she can read and write, that she is single and works as caretaker for an elderly very sick lady. She is angry at her uncle for never having defended her mother when her father beat up on his wife. She is angry at her mother for never having embraced her. She feels guilt and shame, because as a girl she was sexually abused. She is sad. She cries.

    I always answer. I ask her if she can go and tell her uncle and her mother how she feels, maybe she could experiment with herself and start embracing her mother, have another good cry and start forgiving and letting go. She took the shame and guilt that belogs to the abuser on herself - as tends to happen - how could she learn to give these back to him?

    You cannot at all call this a true friendship or a therapy, but it has been going on for maybe 7 weeks, a few messages back and forth every week.

    Last week she told me that our contact is good for her heart, it makes her feel lighter. Just when this message reached me I had a bad day. I felt blinder and older than ever. She lifted my spirits up.

    Yesterday was the first time that I sent the first message in a row, just wishing her a pleasant day. It made her so very happy.

    I notice, while I am telling you this, that I still do not even know her name, just her telephone number!

    I will try to change this right this minute!

    I know that sometimes our lives´pathes cross is very shortly. We hang out together just enough time so that each can push the other one in a new direction...
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Photography by Kiki ( Women Holding Hands)

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