Monday, August 16, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

It's not every day that I experience a drastic range of emotions in a matter of minutes as I did today. 

This past weekend I received a beautiful ring from my husband for our 15th anniversary.  This is the first time I've had a gemstone (we designed our matching wedding bands ourselves) and for ways to numerous and personal to mention, receiving this ring from my husband was about as touching and meaningful as it gets.  We took the ring to the jewelry store in the mall to have it re-sized.  The sales woman gushed over the beauty of the emerald and gave me a list of dos and don'ts related to ring care.  I had to actually give back this beautiful gift for three days so they can send it away  ("you insure it, right?") for the delicate operation.

This symbol of continued love and commitment means the world to me.  I was fighting back  tears of joy as we emerged from the store and back out into the mall.  Just a few stores away was a middle aged woman giving out fliers for a new massage store.  She stepped toward me, her arm outstretched, saying something about their promotion.  I already had my hand out in protest when her eyes scanned my body. I was wearing shorts and when she saw my prosthetic leg she recoiled.  Yes, she actually recoiled.  She stopped talking mid-sentence, her arm shot back to her torso, and she took a few steps away from me and  her eyes widened in, what, horror? distaste? disgust?

At first I laughed, so drastic was her change of attitude toward me.   Then I wondered aloud,  "How do I not have that affect me?" Mark quietly took my hand and his squeeze validated that the experience was nothing short of icky.  All I could think of was how disgusting she saw me.  She took away her offer to massage my body becuase of it's appearance.  My throat constricted painfully making it hard to breathe.  I fought back the tears. After all, we had to walk through Macy's to get to the car and I didn't want to cry as I walked through Macy's.  I had to fight back the feeling that I was disgusting.

And then I thought of the ring, the symbol of love and acceptance that it represents and the man holding my hand.  That silly, shallow woman wasn't going to ruin my joy or darken my day with her judgments. 

I think when I go back on Thursday to pick up my ring, I'll schedule a massage at the new place at the mall.  

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Pendulum Swings

I can only be super busy for so long and then I need a break.  That's what the past month has been about for me.  Since January I had been walking everyday, fitting in my 1/2 hour walk even when all I had between work and a night time commitment was 45 minutes.  And I blogged, daily at first for two months and then twice a week.

It's been a busy first half of the year and the most fulfilling 6 months I've had in a long time. I reminded myself how much I can accomplish when I really set my mind to it.  Making the daily choice to DO rather than BE was a dramatic shift for me and a state of mind I hadn't adopted for years.  I enjoyed checking so much off the personal To Do list.  I was a woman of accomplishment.

And now I just want to rest. I want to get up everyday and write my book. I want to go to coffee shops and sip on lattes. I want to have languid, expanded days of nothingness before me where spontaneity rules. I want to feel like I did as a child when days felt interminably long.  I actually had a day like that yesterday and I felt like a new woman.  After do-do-doing, I got back to center. I followed my heart in the moment. I read Autobiography of a Face and then googled the author and read more about her.  I actually shopped for and made dinner. I saw my niece for coffee and chatted with an old friend on the phone. My daughter and I figured out how to knit (again).  I even cleaned out my email inbox.  It wasn't a day of grand accomplishments, but I did accomplish taking it easy.

During the past month as I've allowed myself to slow my pace, I can't help but think about my next goal.  I'm talking with the Executive Director at the Prosthetics Outreach Foundation about how we can continue working together to raise money. How can I still support this organization?  How can my support continue to be equally beneficial to me?  How can I continue to take care of my body as it ages?  All these questions loom and percolate as I think about my next move. 

For those who haven't heard, part of my next move is to do a reading at Village Books on Wednesday, September 8 at 7 pm.  I'll be reading my essay, No Apologies Necessary, that is included in the anthology The Spirit of a Woman, Stories to Empower and Inspire, edited by Terry Laszlo-Gopadze.  I am honored to  be sharing the podium with Christina Baldwin, a local writer of journaling, story telling and leadership, who also has an essay in the anthology.  I invite you to join me. 

Until then, I'll keep percolating on my next goal.  And relaxing as much as I can.