My sweet, sassy, funky 80 year old great aunt tells me I asked her, when I was a young child, what size her boobs were.  Though I do not recall the actual question or interchange, I don't doubt for one minute if I thought it and wanted to know it, that I asked it.   Why I wanted to know that escapes me now.  Maybe curiosity, trying to size up my own lack in comparison, a bit of my Pippy Longstocking ways.  I don't know.  They were 40 Ds. Hers, not mine:)

I once asked an 85 year old lady if she could tell me what she really felt like inside her head.  How did she see herself?  Did she know she was old?  Is that how aging works, knowing age is literal, but feeling somewhat separated from it?  Who is that person in the mirror kind of thing?  She told me that inside her head was all the thoughts she thought at 25.  She was that same person.  It seemed to her the mirror lied on the visuals and she couldn't connect to what she saw but what she felt inside. 

A friend of mine years ago shared her secret with me.  Something that she had never said out loud to anyone.  She had never said it because if she never said it she could convince herself it was not real, that it did not happen.  Her dad had sexually abused her.  Now in her forties, she let out a deep painful secret, faced it down and acknowledged the trauma it had caused.  It took the sting out a bit.  Carrying secrets is exhausting.  I applauded her bravery.  She had crested the hill.

Sitting on the edge of a hospital bed with a dying woman I asked her what it was like to know the end of life was drawing to a close.  I mean we all know that someday our time to exit life to death will occur, but it is obscure and distant.  Hers was in plain sight and near.  She said clarity came, vision, peace and perspective that she had not had in that depth till now.  It was freeing she said.  It gave her the ability to let go, gain understanding and lose all ability to have to control anything.  She had found the magic ingredient to life - letting loose of it all.

If nothing ever changes, if she can't be different, can you love her and stay married?  I asked the uncomfortable, that's-what-it-comes-down-to-it question.  Scrape it all away, analyze the hell out of it if you want, but a choice had to be made.  Move closer or move away.  Those were the facts.  Facts can be highly freeing.  As he sat across the restaurant table he appreciated the honest exchange, the acknowledgement of the color gray and all that it involved.  He stayed married.   At last count, 56 years.

I once asked a friend about when they were young and went through puberty (they were long past it!).  How did a boy navigate the developing body waters and exploration?  I had only sisters so the knowledge I had about a sexually developing body and exploration came from what I experienced and what I talked about with other women.  I wanted to know a boy's perspective from a backwards glance as an adult man.  It prompted him to pen the funniest oped about masturbation I have ever read.  Wanting to know something gave me a better understanding, but mostly one hysterical laughing session.

Textbooks are too technical for me to really understand.  I want to know stuff beyond just learning.  I want to know the feel, the experience, the reaction.  People are unbelievably interesting.  Why does Cee Lo Green wear big white glasses and why doesn't he join Weight Watchers?

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