lunes, 28 de abril de 2014


Pronto subiré el resto de esta entrega en castellano ... 


En algo menos que cinco días me marcharé, y mi nueva vida empezará.  Saldré con esta relación con el tabaco y mi nuevo amante, como dice L***, será el Aire Libre.  Mmmhhh.
Cada vez más durante esta semana pasada me he trasladado a la Zona Instintiva.  Sin siquiera pensarlo,  volví a leer el capítulo en la LobaBiblia (Mujeres que corren con las lobas, de Clarissa Pínkola Estés) sobre Vasalisa la Sabía y la búsqueda de conexión con el instinto. Todos mis canales están configurados aRecibir ahora, todo que se arrima a mi consciencia lo hace por una sola razón: este camino en que me he puesto.



leaving.1: vigils and dreams, signs and portents

In something less than five days I will be leaving, and my new life will begin.  I will leave this relationship with tobacco and my new lover, as L*** says, will be Fresh Air.  Mmmhhh.

Increasingly over this last week I have moved into the Zone of Instinct.  Without even thinking why, I reread the chapter in the “Wolf-Woman” book (Women who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés) on Vasalisa and the seeking out of connection with instinct.  All my channels are set to RECEIVE now, everything that impinges on my consciousness does so for a reason: this course on which I’m set. 
L*** said to me, “I am astounded at how centred and directed you are. You are like an arrow”.  I have thought of being like an arrow.  I have thought about being like Warrior One (I think it is), one arm pointed ahead like a directional sign, like an urging-on, like a beckoning forward. 

I have prepared for this departure almost as carefully as I did for the one from N***, in the waning days of 1989, after some 15 years.  I had stopped playing the piano in any serious way, for reasons that are not germane here, and had spent a lot of that juice pretty much running my then-partner’s business.  (Which I did quite well: it grossed a million US$ the last year I worked there.)  When I awoke to music again, and to my relationship with the piano, it was a painful awakening because I had to acknowledge that I’d broken faith with that relationship, the central one in my life.  But mysteriously and miraculously, it had not broken faith with me.  My decision to start practicing again made clear to me that my relationship with the piano and my relationship with the man could not coexist. 

At first, it seemed to me that this was sort of a model for what I am doing now; and, in fact, it was quite useful in certain ways.   In thinking about this I realized that a far better model was the relationship with R***, because it took Pleasure into account: the carnal part of that relationship was unequivocally the best ever.  But the Helpfulness Quotient (HQ) was almost a Missing Piece there, in spite of the intellectual brilliance and the afore-mentioned sexual part.  So this second model accommodated the profound and multifaceted pleasure I received from smoking for such a very long time.
In both cases, each of these men had started to leave me, in one way or another, long before I left them.  Tobacco has been starting to leave me for a while now.  Its HQ was going down all the time.  It has been impeding me.  I knew this over six years ago: it was why, after Solo Rumores, I stopped smoking at the computer and then inside my house. 

Finally I had to decide that it was impeding more than it was helping or giving pleasure: as with R***, the pleasure was no longer worth the dragging-down part. 

I realized just a few minutes ago, meditating on this, that in my life I have never put up with anyone restricting my freedom of movement.  Sometimes it takes me a while –that first 15-year relationship took the longest time— but sooner or later I take a walk.  Or a run!

There have been Harpy Attacks: How will you concentrate?  How will you control your weight?  Just you wait, the terror and anxiety will destroy you and you will run out and buy a pack of cigarettes and then how will you feel, you pathetic excuse for a woman/human being/artist? 
I know from Harpy Attacks.  And I think I know what to do about them: one of the most moving moments in all my reading is when, in Philip Pullman’s trilogy, the answer comes “tell them stories”.  Even the Harpies are hurting inside, that is why they want to lacerate.  So tell them stories.  My stories are full of faith and delight: how I will have better concentration because my brain will be receiving more oxygen, my weight will be OK, in fact better, because now I will be able to run, run, RUN like my tocaya Ana Guevara, as far and as beautifully as I may wish.  And panic and terror will not be present because they are not part of my being now, in fact just the thought of that in the cold light of day is laughable.
Remembering how it was in the waning days of 1989 as I prepared with such care to leave the relationship with N***, I actually went back and found a half-remembered journal entry.  It is dated 26 December 1989 and says:
“These last few weeks, I feel emotionally the way I felt musically when I really had my chops up: every time I had a question or confusion, I would take a minute and look inside myself, almost in fear that I had finally hit the wall where there were no more answers – and lo and behold, spread out before me for the taking was the answer, the solution, or the thought that pointed me towards the changed mind-set that let me see the solution.
“I feel as though I have been gulping down great mouthfuls of learning about myself and about things: a collection of big and little wisdoms that put all together give me wings.  Perhaps this is why I have felt so little hunger.  I enjoy food, but it doesn’t have the desperate importance for me that it had in the past; now I am fed by other things, marvellous underground springs of music and awareness that have been struck by some staff and have emerged from the parched ground to sustain me.”

Yes, I have prepared for this.  Little by little, over the last ten days or so, the ashtrays have been removed or relocated.  Now I do not even look for most of them where they were.  Little by little, my own auto-hypnosis is working: the other day I picked up a cigarette and it looked like some alien object in my hand. 

And as in that wonderful quote attributed to Goethe, providence has intervened.  When I returned from the Fulbright interviews in the DF on Saturday evening, on my desk was the package containing my new balance ball!!  Which I was finally able to order because of the Torreón concert!  And the spare plug kit and the pump, that I’d ordered from the wonderful Balls’n’Bands place in one of the Carolinas.  My body is working towards being fighting fit. 

of Signs and portents: I dream: everybody dreams.  But I rarely remember them, it seems, except in times of great crisis.  Of threshold moments.  I re-read Polly Carl’s wonderful post on Howlround (  )
two days ago and that term came jumping out at me outlined in lights.  Threshold moments.  One of the moments, she says, in which it is most important to be generous. 
In the worst year of my life –the Dreadful Winter of Ice and Snow of 1997, in which my only sister died after not speaking to me for almost ten years— I learned to Ask For News.  And my dreams faithfully reported it, in a neutral fashion just like the news.  Sometimes it was terrible.  Often altho’ terrible it was weirdly reassuring.  Like Haydn and Schubert and Ibarra, the Dream News reassured me that I was still alive and sentient. 

So this time also I asked for news, just before drifting off.  The first night I dreamed of blood.  I was quite clear that it was menstrual blood, but there was no sensation of alarm or fear associated with it.  The second time I dreamed that I was actually IN the Allen Carr course!  It all felt so comfortable, so reassuring, so good.  The most recent time was last night.  It wasn’t until halfway through the morning I remembered it: the image of a Warrior-Woman, an Athlete-Woman, muscles toned, lean and sinewy and proud.  It was half as though I was looking at her and half as though I was her.  The Power of Intention is alive and strong.

I don’t interpret any of these dreams here: I am running on intuition and if anyone wants them explained she may have to wait; or engage the imagination-muscles and figure them out herself …

Ratiocination has, as I move towards this threshold, less and less to do with anything. This was confirmed in a long talk I had with A*** last week.  She is the dearly respected friend and colleague who stopped with Allen Carr while she was smoking three packs of cigarettes daily.  Without terror, without the famous withdrawal, without anything at all.  It was --she said-- as though I had never smoked.  Just listen, she said, turn off your intellect, just listen and absorb, open yourself.

Beautiful reading yesterday by Lirio Garduño: poetry of Efraín Huerta and Thelma Nava.  Some wonderful observations –from Lirio and from her assembled listeners—about the renewing of the language.  That we acknowledge and value lineage but we are open to the new. 

This is the Garden: for something to be born something else must die.  We must make room for New Growth, for new stuff to happen.  Sometimes it can be difficult to bring ourselves to prune but it is only thus that a plant may bear new shoots.  And if it is dead, well let it die, and plant something else in its place.

More than once, these last two weeks, into my mind has come the vision of the about-to-be-knight, who spends the hours of darkness before his ordination keeping vigil, in meditation, contemplation, and prayer, preparing himself –herself? we know there were cases of women who passed themselves off as men, who fought valiantly with the arms of men— for the rite of the morning.  This has been such a time.  I am preparing for My New Life. 

The logistics are arranged.  I will arrive to the DF on Sunday evening and I will stay in a nice economical hotel which, allowing generously for the insane Monday-morning traffic, should be only one hour from the place of the course.  I have confirmed my place in the course.  There is a Sanborn’s half a block away where I can have a good delicious breakfast beforehand –it will be six and a half hours, after all!  So I will arise at 5:30, leave the hotel at 7:00, have my delicious sustaining breakfast, and move easily and lovingly into the preparation for My New Life. 
I don’t know what I will do afterwards, particularly.  I know I will immediately go back to the same breakfast Sanborn’s and have a wonderful comida!  Then I have a date with Mario Lavista to go and FINALLY pick up his Monarca piece … two years late but oh well, still in time for the second recording session ;=)) … and then I don’t know.  If it’s not too late and I feel like it, I may just come back home.  Five hours on the bus but then to be here with Azabacha and Estrella and Zumo … could be!    On the other hand I may stay with one of the friends I have on semi-alert in the DF. 
The hotel is part of the vigil: I knew that when it turned out that the dear friend closest to the course would be returning from the LA Book Fair Sunday night and couldn’t be sure if his plane might be delayed.  So much the better.  Time for contemplation, meditation, prayer, and anticipated joy.
What am I reading?  The Loba-Biblia, the Wolf-Woman book (Women who run with the Wolves, of Clarissa Pinkola Estés, you know it)  … and Harry Potter. Magic, learning, high adventure, opening the doors which appear when we open ourselves to see them.
Much love to you all.  From the bottom of my heart again I thank you for your energy, your love, your friendship.


On 29 April 2014 at about 15:30hrs, it will be a year since I smoked my last cigarette. 

At the time, I wrote about the experience of leaving my relationship with tobacco, but for various reasons never published anything on my blog.  Relatively few friends, all very close to me, knew about this event but the vast majority of friends and fans knew nothing.  Sorry!!  Now I’m out of the closet, as it were.

Here are some random observations, collected over the course of this last twelve months.  During that same year I also recorded and launched the two discs of Canto de la Monarca – lots of blogging about that, just look around here in January and July of 2013!  

OK, to begin with: It seems very much in fashion to be profoundly anti-tobacco.  There seem to be no shades of grey, no middle ground.   

Here goes, however unfashionable it may be: I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy some 90% of the cigarettes I smoked.  Goodness me, how I loved smoking!  It brings a nostalgic smile to my lips just remembering it. 

By the same token, it would be a lie to say I suffered horribly when I left that relationship.  Yes, I had a couple of hours when I felt itchy with self-doubt, wondering if I’d done the right thing –something to which I realize I am allergic!— but that was principally because of the behavioural –as opposed to the physical— part of the dependency.  And it all got resolved quite easily with the good meal to which I treated myself.  Read all about it in Leaving.3.

A number of people said or wrote things that gave me the sense that they had visions of Cervantes fighting tooth and nail to free herself from the clutches of this horrid malevolent addiction.  Phrases like “your battle with addiction” tended to appear, almost outlined with lurid orange lights or cartoon lightning zigzags.  Very Hollywood, my dears, but it wasn’t like that at all. Really and truly, I just did what any of us does when she sets out to accomplish a task, whether it’s learning a piece of music or building a house: I organized myself with the best tools at my disposal –the first of which was my imagination— and let the work begin. 

The truth is, I was ready to leave, as I’d been ready to leave other relationships in which I’d become entwined and which had started to be damaging.  In all of them I had already, in some sense, been left: there had been some parting of the ways, somehow it had become clear that the Person In Question wanted some other kind of woman, or just some other woman.  Here, I began to see that tobacco had already left me: it was starting to take a toll, to slow me down.  So it was time for me to take my leave, as graciously and easily as possible, causing as little aggravation as I could.  Like a lady?  Yes. Like the Amiable (though Imperious) Diva which I aim to be? Yes indeed.

So it turns out that not everyone wants to hear that I didn’t suffer!  I was amazed.  In that couple of weeks after smoking that final cigarette –sort of like making love for what you (at least) are pretty sure will be the last time— I ran into LOTS of people with whom I shared that I’d left tobacco.  Some were really supportive – interesting that many people who still smoke and are enjoying it a lot were among the most supportive.  There were others who, apparently, had stopped and deeply felt that they’d given something up.   One said, “It’s been three years and every time someone lights up, I STILL want to smoke a cigarette.”   Then he looked at me with a penetrating glance and asked, “So how do you feel?” When I said that I was just deliriously happy he shot me a glance laden with profound skepticism.  
All of a sudden I realized that sharing my own happiness was not always going to make other people happy.  I’d seen this before in my life but had forgotten: misery loves company!  When I told this to my dear friend Z*** Y***, a therapist who has done a lot of work around substance abuse, she said Sounds like you were smoking for a lot of people.  Even over the telephone I could hear the smile in her voice.

And then there are the people –mostly non-smokers but who maybe have had their own issues from major to minor with alcohol or food or whatever— who are genuinely interested in how it worked for me, what my experience has been.  For me this has been really heart-warming. 

This is going to sound totally off the wall, but it is true: there are times when I think about cigarettes, and about smoking them, and the whole thing seems irrelevant.  It’s the best word I can think of.  Cigarettes have nothing to do with me, good or bad, enjoyable or disgusting.  They just don’t matter.

Also, it’s been amusing for me to discover the huge amount of folklore around this dependency business, in particular as it relates to tobacco.  Occasionally useful altho’ rarely; mostly amusing.  For one thing, the data are totally contradictory.  I think they fail to take into account that each body is different.
Several people, upon learning that I’d left, sent me these adorable lists of good changes that happen to your body when you stop smoking tobacco.  In both English and Spanish, bless their hearts.  Several different versions, as I recall. 
In one it said that I would have less body hair.  This was accompanied by a rendering of a hairy arm followed by a less hairy one.  I find myself wondering, not for the first time, what this sort of thing tells us about the popular image of female beauty … but that’s another blog, sorry.
Well, I am sorry to tell you that in the case of my own body this has not been the case.  I seem to have more hair on my head and on my arms and everywhere else women have hair.  It’s not abundantly more, but I do notice that I have to go to the depilación place a little more often: I’m still getting used to that part.  No complaints: I am a Big Hair Gal and feel that you can never have too much hair –at least on your head. Or be too rich or too thin … just joking …

Obviously the relationship between art and dependency has been much written-about.  The death by heroin of Philip Seymour Hoffman brought out a lot of commentaries about how the “sensitives” among us are particularly vulnerable to addiction problems.  And there were the inevitable commentaries about how for such people, when they are artists, the dependency may even be a sort of necessary precondition for their creative work. 
I have some real problems with this whole package of stuff  For one thing, it is a terrible stereotyping of the artist: real romantic twaddle.  The worst is when young artists believe it!  
Plus, it’s just not the case: look at all the musicians –just to mention one category— who ended their abusive relationships with alcohol or other drugs and carried on to have splendid careers.  They didn’t lose an iota of their musical passion or potency, and almost certainly they added years to their lives both creative and physical.

As you might imagine, I thought about this a lot, before I left smoking. Also afterwards.  If there was anything that worried me it was precisely that bit: how tobacco was hooked in to My Life As A Musician.  I remembered, many times, how from one day to the next I abandoned the cigarette and ashtray on their own little table by the side of the piano, a few weeks after I started working with Lettvin.  No one –least of all me—was trying to get me to stop smoking tobacco … but it suddenly became a distraction.  Not only there was no need for it, it was positively In The Way. I thought of this as another model, not certain how it would come into play but pretty sure it would, literally or metaphorically.  And of course, it did: smoking had started to hold me back more than it pleased me: ergo, it was In The Way.  Time for me to go.

The friend who left cigarettes when she was smoking as many as 60 cigarettes a day said, before I stopped, “It’s not about cigarettes as such, it’s about your relationship with cigarettes –  it’s much more about YOU.”

I have never regretted this decision, not for one single minute.  On the contrary, I feel profoundly grateful that leaving that relationship –so gratifying for so many years— was so easy, at the end when it was no longer very exciting and had become a burden.

Nostalgie du tabac.  There has been and still is what I have come to think of as “nostalgie du tabac” –no idea why I think it in French, maybe all those sexy French actors smoking?--: nostalgia for tobacco.  Most definitely it is not nostalgia for smoking tobacco: I have zero desire to smoke. Rather, it’s nostalgia for the way I felt in certain moments when I smoked.  Interestingly, almost all of them have to do with being alone, with moving apart from the crowd in one way or another.  Lots to chew on here, obviously.
I got my wish.  Three or four times I have actually had moments in which I realized, incredulous, that I almost wished I wanted it – makes me laugh.  After the last time this happened I understood: to not want it was what I’d so passionately desired, almost seven years ago.  
At various moments during the last 20 years or so, I’ve realized: all the things I really desired, I have received.
OK, the weight part.  If you’ve read the earlier parts of this posting, you know that I had this vision of myself looking something like my tocaya (namesake) Ana Guevara the Mexican runner, within six months after that last cigarette.  This has not happened.  In fact, there are some four or five kilos around my middle that were not there before.  I oscillate between fury at the weight and delight in the extra-delicious flavour food now has, as well as a kind of silly-happiness about almost everything, fundamentally about being alive and sentient.  
People don’t know what to think about this either, at least some of them.  On the one hand, in every possible Righteous Way, they have to be happy that Ana Left Tobacco.  On the other hand, are they happy to see me looking A Tad Plump?  What is WRONG with La Q, for heaven’s sake?! 
But I can’t explain.  I guess I have figured –using the model of  “I seem to have achieved the things I’ve really desired” – that at a certain point the equilibrium would re-establish itself, product of a mysterious gyroscope whose rule-book I do not have but only intuit. 
It seems I’m not quite ready for the Madonna Macrobiotic Diet.  Well, perhaps if there were a really appealing chef cooking it up for me … I never say never.
In the meantime, as always when I am here, I go out every morning to walk or run with my two wonderful companions Azabacha and Estrella.  In the last month I seem to have finally re-established a good work rhythm at the piano.  Curiously, going hand-in-hand with this is the re-establishment of my own Pilates-Yoga-mélange of mat work.   So who knows? –maybe that gyroscope is activating itself.
Important to understand: leaving tobacco is a major metabolic hit.  If you’d drunk a glass of orange juice upon arising every morning for several decades, and suddenly one day you didn’t, your body would let you know.  Tobacco is surely a bit more complex than this example but you get the idea.  I believe there’s some research on this but really, in the middle of recording the two Monarca CDs and all the attendant craziness I couldn’t be bothered to do the necessary looking around.   

A kind of innocence. I smell the perfume of a newly-lighted cigarette and it smells delicious to me.  But it gives me no desire to smoke.  I find this an absolutely amazing and delightful phenomenon.  It is a kind of innocent pleasure which I imagine to be that of being an little girl and smelling the cigarette of my father –or of my mother, for that matter, they both smoked— and loving the scent without wanting anything more.

Curiosity.  As in many other moments, Curiosity was an impetus which generated enormous energy for me.
 For example: I played my first tobacco-free concert exactly one month after smoking that last cigarette, and that was quite cool.  I had absolutely no idea what it would feel like and the cool part was that it all went perfectly fine.  I was gratifyingly surprised to find that I felt no different than when I was smoking: the concentration and the focus were the same.  In fact they were slightly better, I think now: perhaps because of having more oxygen in my body? 

Another example: when I went to the US for the DC and NY launches of Monarca, it was the first time I’d been in DC as a non-smoker since I was a teenager … and the first time ever in New York City. Here too, I wondered how that would feel. On the one hand, ¡¡SURPRISE!! It really didn’t feel that different.  On the other hand, it was an amazing sort of historical landmark in my own life.

Do it for Your Own Reasons.  At the very end of that six and a half-hour Allen Carr course, the therapist/group leader said, “This is sort of a cliché, but it’s extremely important.  We always read that we should Do Things For Ourselves: meditation, exercise, relaxation, a walk in the woods, whatever.  This is the same, but in a different way: it’s critical that you leave cigarettes for your own reasons.  Write them down.  Put a copy on the fridge, keep one in your wallet or your purse, another by your bedside – wherever you think you may need it.  Everyone around you will have a long list of good reasons why you should leave cigarettes: don’t do it for their reasons, do it for yours.”
Impossible to overstate how important and wonderful this advice was for me.  As the days and weeks and months unfolded after that last cigarette –smoked with joy but also, the truth be told, with a bit of boredom, in anticipation of my soon-to-arrive freedom— I was to understand again and again how right-on it is.  So true: everyone around me had a whole list of reasons why it would be good for me to leave smoking.  I’m sure all of them were valid, persuasive, whatever.  But at the end of the day those reasons –as I suppose they often do in these situations— had way more to do with each of those people than they did with me. 
What were MY reasons for leaving? If you’ve read the previous chapters in this little history you’ll know a bunch of them.  At the end of the day, the central reason is:
It Was Time To Go.

What do I take away, most centrally, now, a year after leaving?  I think it’s this:

Primordially, more and more: The Happiness Part is Up To Me.  
Second, that The Choice and the Reasons are Mine. 
Not so strange, I guess, that those were the central lessons of other leavings, other movings-on, other evolutions in my life.  The best is still to come!



MARCHÁNDOME_5: 27 abril 2014

El 29 de abril 2014 tipo 15:30h, hará un año desde que fumé mi ultimo cigarro.

A la sazón, escribí sobre la experiencia de dejar mi relación con el tabaco, pero por varias razones nunca subí nada a mi blog.  Unos pocos muy cercanos amigos sabían de este acontecimiento, pero la gran mayoría de amigos y fans no supo nada. ¡¡Perdón!!   Ahora salgo del armario, como quien dice.
Van unas observaciones más o menos aleatorias, juntadas durante el transcurso de los pasados doce meses.  Durante ese mismo año grabé y presenté los dos discos de Canto de la Monarca: Mujeres en México –sobre le cual sí subí bastante al blog: ¡indáguenlo aquí en enero y julio del 2013!
Vale, por empezar: parece estar muy de modo hablar pestes del tabaco, estar totalmente anti-tabaquismo; parece que no hay escala de grises, todo blanco o negro.
Pues va, por fuera de modo que parezca: mentiría si dijera que no disfruté el 90% de los cigarros que fumé.  Santo dios, ¡cómo me encantó fumar!  Sólo recordarlo me lleva una sonrisa nostálgica a los labios. Mmmhhh.
Así mismo, sería una mentira gruesísima decir que sufrí horriblemente a la hora de dejar esa relación.  Sí, tuve un par de horas en que me asaltó la cosquilla de la auto-duda, preguntándome si hubiera hecho la cosa correcta –algo a que me doy cuenta de que estoy ALÉRGICA— pero eso fue principalmente por la parte psicológica, no la física— de la dependencia. Y se resolvió muy fácilmente con la buena comida a que me invité. Léelo en SALIENDO.3.
Varias personas dijeron o escribieron cosas que me dieron la sensación de que ellos tenían visiones de Cervantes batallando a todo lo que daba para liberarse de las garras de esta horrenda y malévola adicción.  Solían aparecer frases como tu batalla con la adicción casi enmarcadas con luces anaranjadas o imágenes de relámpagos de caricatura, como la publicidad de una peli de los años cuarenta del siglo pasado.  Muy Hollywood, mis queridos, pero así no fue en lo más mínimo.  En realidad, sólo hice lo que cualquier de nosotros hace cuando resuelva hacer una tarea, ya sea preparar la interpretación de una pieza de música o la construcción de una casa: me organicé con las mejores herramientas disponibles y manos a la obra.
La verdad es que ya estuve lista para salir, igual como había estado lista para salir de otras relaciones en que me había entretejido y que habían empezado a hacerme daño.  En todas la Persona En Cuestión ya me había dejado, en algún sentido: los caminos se habían dividido, se había puesto en claro que dicha Persona quisiera otro tipo de mujer o simplemente, otra mujer.  Aquí, empecé a ver que el tabaco también ya me había dejado: empezó a hacerme mella, a aminorarme el paso. Así que era hora de hacer mutis, lo más grata y fácilmente posible, ocasionando la mínima molestia que pudiera.  ¿Cómo una doña? Sí.  ¿Cómo la Amable –aunque Imperiosa— Diva que quiero ser?  En lo absoluto.
Pues ¡resulta que no todo mundo quisiera saber que no sufrí! Quedé atónita.  En ese par de semanas después de fuma ese último cigarro –algo parecido a hacer el amor por lo que sabes será la última vez— me topé con toneladas de personas con quienes compartía que había dejado de fumar.  Algunas estuvieron súper apoyativas – interesante que mucha gente que todavía fuma y lo disfruta mucho fue entre las personas más positivas. Hubo otras personas que, según me dijeron, habían dejado de fumar y todavía sintieron privadas de algo.  Uno me dijo, Hace tres años desde que lo dejé y todavía, cada que alguien enciende uno en mi alrededor todavía me muero de ganas de fumar.  Luego me mira con una mirada penetrante y me pregunta, “¿Y cómo te sientes?”  Le digo que me siento increíblemente feliz me lanza una mirada cargada de escepticismo y recelo.
De repente me doy cuenta que el compartir mi propia felicidad no siempre dará alegría a los demás. Lo había visto antes en mi vida pero lo había olvidado.  Cuando conté todo esto a mi querida amiga Z*** Y***, terapista que trabaja mucho con asuntos de adicción, ella dijo, Sounds like you were smoking for a lot of people (Parece que estabas fumando para mucha gente).  Aún en el teléfono de Skype pude escuchar su sonrisa.
Y luego hubo las personas  -principalmente no-fumadores pero que quizás han tenido sus batallas desde menor hasta acampal con la comida o la bebida o lo que sea— genuinamente interesadas en cómo me fue, cómo era. Para mí esto de veras me cayó muy bien.
Esto parecerá completamente loco pero es verdad: hay momentos cuando pienso en el cigarro y en fumarlo, y el asunto entero me parece irrelevante.  Es la mejor palabra que se me ocurre.  El cigarro ya no tiene nada que ver conmigo, bueno o malo, disfrutable o asqueroso. Simplemente no importa.
También ha sido divertido descubrir la enorme cantidad de folclor alrededor del asunto de la dependencia, en particular en lo que se refiere al tabaco.  A veces útil aunque rara vez; principalmente divertido.  Por empezar, los datos son del todo contradictorios.  Creo que no toman en cuenta que cada cuerpo es distinto.
Varias personas, al saber que yo había salido, me enviaron estas chulísimas listas de los cambios positivos que pasan a tu cuerpo cuando dejas de fumar.  Tanto en inglés como en español, benditos. Varias versiones distintas, si sirve la memoria.
En una, dijo que yo iba a tener menos vello en mi cuerpo –porque el tabaco puede impedir la producción de estrógeno que, se supone, pone su límite en la cantidad de cabello y vello que el cuerpo femenino produce. Éste iba acompañada por una imagen de esas digitales de un antebrazo bastante hirsuto, seguido por otro casi completamente carente de vello.  (Me pregunto qué tiene todo esto que decir acerca de la imagen popular de la belleza femenina … pero eso es otro blog.) Pues lamento decir que no dio en el blanco.  Parece que tengo más cabello, digo, no de manera fea, pero en definitivo más. Todavía me estoy acostumbrando.  Yo soy totalmente a favor de mucho cabello en la cabeza, así que no me quejo.
Obviamente sobre la relación entre el arte y la dependencia química se ha escrito montones.  La muerte por heroína de Philip Seymour Hoffman hace unos meses sacó a la luz muchos comentarios acerca de cómo los sensibles entre nosotros son particularmente vulnerables a problemas de adicción.  Y hubo los inevitables comentarios sobre para esas personas, cuando son artistas, la dependencia incluso podría ser una suerte de precondición necesaria para su trabajo.
Yo tengo un considerable problema con estas ideas.  Por un lado, representa un espantoso estereotipismo acerca del artista: una verdadera porquería romanticizada.  ¡Lo peor es cuando los jóvenes artistas lo creen!
Y en realidad, simplemente no es el caso: veamos todos los músicos –por mencionar sólo una categoría—que terminaron sus relaciones abusivas con el alcohol y otros drogas y siguieron adelante para tener espléndidas carreras.  No perdieron ni una iota de su pasión o su potencia musicales, y seguramente agregaron años a sus vidas tanto creativas como físicas.
Como se puede imaginar, yo pensé bastante en todo esto, antes de dejar de fumar.  Y después.  Si hubiera algo que me preocupaba fue precisamente eso: ¿hasta qué grado el tabaco estaba enganchado a mi vida como músico? Cuántes veces recordé cómo de un día al otro abandoné el cenicero con su humeante cigarro, al lado del piano en su mesita especial, pocas semanas después de que empecé a trabajar con Lettvin.  Nadie –¡y menos yo!—pretendía que yo dejara de fumar … pero de repente se convirtió en una distracción.  No solamente no fue necesario, fue una molestia.  Pensé en esto como aún otro modelo, sin estar segura de cómo entraría en juego pero bastante segura de que sí entraría, ya sea de manera literal o metafórica. Y por supuesto que sí: el cigarro había empezado a poner trabas en mi camino más que me estaba complaciendo; ergo, era una molestia.  Hora de que yo me marchara.
La amiga que dejó el tabaco cuando estaba fumando hasta 60 cigarros diarios me dijo, antes de que yo lo dejé, Mira, no tiene que ver con el cigarro como tal, tiene que ver con tu relación con el cigarro – es mucho más acerca de ti que del cigarro.
Nunca me he arrepentido de esta decisión, ni siquiera por un momento.  Al contrario: sigo sintiéndome profundamente agradecida que mi salida de esa relación con el tabaco –tan gratificante y placentera durante tantos años— resultó ser tan fácil, al final cuando la relación ya no era muy emocionante y se había convertido en un lastre.
Nostalgie du tabac.  Ha habido y todavía hay lo que he llegado a pensar como nostalgie du tabac –quién sabe porqué lo pienso en francés, ¿será esos tipos tan feo-guapos y tan extraordinariamente sexy, todos con el cigarro colgado de sus labios tan apetecientes?—en todo caso: nostalgia por el tabaco. En definitivo no es nostalgia para fumar el tabaco: tengo cero ganas de fumar. Más bien, es nostalgia por cómo me sentí en ciertos momentos cuando fumaba. Interesante que casi todos esos momentos tienen que ver con estar sola, con apartarme de la muchedumbre.  Todavía hay bastante aquí que examinar.
Se cumplió mi deseo.  Tres o cuatro veces he tenido momentos en que me di cuenta, incrédula, que casi quisiera que tuviera ganas de fumar – me hace reír.  Después de la última vez que esto pasó –en marzo, hace un mes aproximadamente— entendí: NO quererlo es lo que tan apasionadamente había deseado, hace casi siete años.  Se cumplió mi deseo.
De cuando en cuando, durante estos pasados veinte-tantos años, me he dado cuenta: todas las cosas que en realidad he deseado, he recibido.
Vale, la parte del peso.  Si has leído los anteriores posting, sabes que yo tenía una visión de mí misma parecida a mi tocaya Ana Guevara, dentro de seis meses después de fumar ese último cigarro.  Esto no ha sucedido.  De hecho, hay unos cinco kilos innecesarios en el área de mi cintura que antes no estaban. Oscilo entre rabia por los kilos y deleite –sí, todavía— por el delicioso sabor que tiene la comida –y eso que yo siempre tenía un paladar bastante fino aún como fumadora. También hay una suerte de boba alegría acerca de casi todo, me supongo que primordialmente por estar viva y consciente.
La gente tampoco sabe qué pensar de esto, al menos algunas personas.  Por un lado, por todo un haz de razones santurronas, tienen que estar muy felices que Ana Dejó el Chingarro.  Por otro lado, ¿les da gusto verme Un Tantito Rechoncha? ¿Qué le pasa a la Q, por dios?
Pero no puedo dar explicaciones.  Me supongo que he decidido –recurriendo al modelo de que parece que he logrado las cosas que en realidad he deseado—que en cierto momento el equilibrio se volverá a establecer, resultado de un misterioso giroscopio cuyo instructivo no tengo y sólo puedo intuir.
Parece que todavía no estoy lista para el Regimen Macrobiótico de Madonna.  Buenoooo … quizás si hubiera un chef particularmente simpático que me lo cocinara … nunca digo nunca.
Mientras tanto, como siempre cuando estoy aquí, salgo todas las mañanas a caminar o a correr con mis dos maravillosas compañeras Azabacha y Estrella.  Desde principios de abril, después de la profunda fatiga post-parto de Monarca, por fin empiezo a establecer un buen ritmo de trabajo al piano. Curiosamente, tomado de la mano con esto piano se reestablece mi trabajo de alfombra, una mezcla de Pilates, Somática, yoga y quién sabe qué más.  Así que --¿quién sabe?—tal vez el giroscopio ahora se activa.
Importantísimo entender: dejar el tabaco es un golpe metabólico de proporciones titánicas. Si hubieras tomado, al levantarte, un juguito de naranja cada mañana durante muchos años, y de repente no lo hicieras, tu cuerpo lo sentiría.  Probablemente dejar el tabaco es un poco más complejo que este ejemplo, pero te da idea.  Me late que hay algo de investigación sobre este aspecto pero muy honestamente, entre la grabación de los dos discos Monarca y toda la acompañante locura no tuve ni tiempo ni energía mental para darle el necesario seguimiento.
Una suerte de inocencia. Olfateo el perfume de un cigarro recién encendido y me huele absolutamente delicioso.  Pero no me da ningún deseo de fumar.  Esto para mí es un fenómeno absolutamente asombroso y deleitoso. Es una suerte de placer inocente que imagino ser como ser niña, olfateando el cigarro de mi papá –o igual mi mamá, los dos fumaban— y gustando de ese perfume sin ganas de algo más.
Curiosidad.  Como en tantos otros momentos, la curiosidad fue un ímpetu que me generó enorme energía.
Por ejemplo: toqué mi primer concierto libre de tabaco exactamente un mes después de fumar ese último cigarro, y fue algo bastante chido.  No tenía ni idea de cómo se sentiría y lo más chido de todo es que estuvo completamente bien.  Fue una grata sorpresa que no se sintió nada diferente.  De hecho, concentración y energía tantito mejor -- ¿será por tener más oxígeno en cuerpo y mente?
Otro ejemplo: cuando fui a EU para las presentaciones Monarca en DC y NYC, fue la primera vez que había estado en DC como no-fumadora desde mi adolescencia … y la primera vez en NYC.  Aquí también me preguntaba cómo sería.  Por un lado, ¡¡SORPRESA!! En realidad no se sentía muy distinto.  Por otro lado, para mí fue un asombroso hito histórico en mi vida.
Hazlo por tus propias razones. Al mero final de ese curso Allen Carr con sus seis horas y media, la terapeuta dijo, “Esto es algo trillado pero terriblemente importante. Siempre leemos que hay que hacer las cosas para nosotros mismos: la meditación, la relajación, una caminata en el bosque, las vacaciones, lo que sea.  Esto es igual pero en otro sentido: es absolutamente esencial que cada uno de ustedes deje el cigarro por sus propias razones. Escríbelas.  Pon una copia en el refri, en la cartera o la bolsa de mano, otra al lado de la cama, otra en el coche –dondequiera que creas que sea necesario.  Todas las personas en tu alrededor tendrán una larga lista de razones para que tú dejes de fumar.  Seguramente son muy válidas pero no son TUS razones.  No lo hagas por sus razones, hazlo por las tuyas.”
Imposible exagerar lo importante y maravilloso que fue este consejo para mí.  Conforme que pasaron las semanas y los meses después de ese último cigarro –fumado con goce pero también, sea dicha la verdad, casi con aburrimiento, anticipando mi pronta libertad— entendería vez con vez lo atinadísimo que es este consejo.  ¡Es cierto! Todas las personas en mi alrededor tenían una larga lista de razones porque sería bueno para mí dejar de fumar. Estoy segura que todas, TODAS fueron válidas, persuasivas, buenas, lo que sea.  Pero a la postre estas razones –como me supongo sucede a cada rato en estas situaciones—tenían mil veces más que ver con esas personas que conmigo.
Y mis razones ¿qué fueron? Si has leído los anteriores capítulos en esta pequeña crónica sabrás algunas. Al final, la razón central es:
Era hora de irme.
¿Qué llevo conmigo ahora, un año después de marcharme de esa relación?
Creo que es esto:
Lo primordial, cada vez más, es que La Parte de la Alegría es a Mí.
Segundo: la Elección y las Razones son Mías. No tan extraño, me supongo, que esas también fueron las lecciones centrales de otras salidas, otras partidas, otras evoluciones en mi vida. ¡Lo mejor es todavía por venir!