0.1) Birth

...I will tell a history of everything in five rebirths. Because I was there for the whole thing.

The crazy thing about being here is that every atom in your body goes back to the very beginning of time. Every letter of your DNA is part of a continuous line going back billions of years to the first microbes. The doctor literally has to cut the transmission line between you and the past. We spend the rest of our lives trying to chase that feeling. Of connection.

When my daughter was born they asked if I wanted to cut the cord. "Fuck no." I can barely open a package, and a baby comes with even less instructions. They're just like "Here." And there you are. It's amazing.

At the time I didn't know what I was feeling. I was just there. I took a nap while my wife was laboring, but when the baby came out I was 100% there. This is interesting because most of life, unless we're getting hit by a car or something, is spent about 20% there. When suddenly this creature depends on you for its basic life processes, you're 100% there. You have to be. And you're lucky to be. Every child is a rebirth of the parents. You're never the same. You even get a new name.

Appa. Indi-Appa, ඉඳිආප්ප, இடியப்பம். Funny because indiyappam is a beloved food. String hoppers. I'm a string hopper.

The Cord

You are born with a string connecting you to a mother. To a line of mothers going back to the dawn of life on Earth. Separated but unbroken. An unbroken transmission line going back to the beginning of time. All the truth you ever needed to know was there in the umbilical cord and we spend the rest of our lives trying to get that feeling back. Connection. Love. A mother's love. There is no higher power.

Men can be mothers, but I'm definitely a father. During birth, I took a nap and huffed nitrous when the nurses weren't looking. I was able to partake in that primal, instinctive moment of birth as a tourist. Every creature from birds to dinosaurs to fish knows instinctively how to care for their children, in very complicated ways. It's something we know at a higher level than individual cognition because it is a higher self. It is the species living and thinking through you.

All the information you need is contained in the umbilical cord. We are just part of one string of life, consisting of many threads. We cut that shit and forget it, but it's true. You don't have to take my word for it. Ask your Mama, if she's around. She knew you were connected. Her mama knew too. So it goes on back for billions of mamas, to Big Mama Microbe, and Paati Prokaryote. We have to cling onto our ancestors for dear life. It's one of those things that's complicated to explain that babies know.

Life is one largely undifferentiated string going back to the start of life, 4 billion years ago or whatever. It remixes, rewinds, and mostly dies off, but some slender thread of scrambling microbes, scurrying mammals, and sapient apes reached out through the umblical cord to my daughter and we cut it off. Connection is our birthright. It's also the first thing we lose.