It has been a long time since I felt like I had something worth saying. There was a time that I felt confident about putting my ideas into print. This emotion ebbs, and wanes from time to time. There is a lot going on inside of me, at the moment. It occurred to me recently that if I put these things in print, it could be healing for me, and possibly others. Here is where I get brave and take the step to do just that.
Last year, I got sick. This was the culmination of me not going to the doctor for several years, and self medicating. I needed a hysterectomy for some time, but was in denial. It began to interfere with my digestion, and I decided it was time to have the surgery. The surgery itself was a piece of cake; physically. I was up and out of the hospital in two days, even though I have a six inch diagonal scar on my lower stomach. I was at the grocery store and trying to take the car keys well before the week was out. My husband didn't let me drive; but it was a close thing. I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me; and then the emotional boulder hit me.
I have battled severe depression several times before in my life. It is one of those things that I have looked back on, many times in the past decade and a half, and been very thankful that I had put it behind me. I am not depressed now, but my anxiety is off the charts. It is not easy for me to talk about, but I feel compelled to do it. There must be a reason for it. It is hard to put a finger on why I feel so anxious, but I will try.
The thing is, I feel like I have entered the last phase of my life. I still plan to have a long life from this point on, but one never really knows how long life will last. I got a grand start last year. I set the goal to lose weight and to be more active, and I was doing just those things when I got sick. I have resigned myself that I will never be a size 8 again, and I can live with that. What I never anticipated was to look at myself in the mirror, and to have the body of my dear, departed Aunt Wanda stand in the mirror in front of me with my face on it.
My Aunt Wanda was always big. When I was a little girl, it was just a fact. She wore pretty dresses and red lipstick. She was pretty to me, but I never wanted to look like her. I wanted to look like all the ladies on television with their short skirts and go go boots (I know, I am dating myself terribly, but it is the truth). I wanted to be tall and thin with long hair like Cher. I wanted to have a smoky voice and beautiful eyes like Nancy Sinatra. Taking after my aunt, or any of the women I held dear in my actual life, from a physical perspective, never entered my mind at all.
I talk to my daughters, and I know that they feel the same way about me, right now. They look at me as a precautionary tale of what happens to you if you don't stay as active as you need to be and never give up your love for chocolate chip cookies and cokes. Mind you, I could not talk them out of giving up chocolate chip cookies or cokes now if it would save all our lives! They tell me how active they will stay, how thin they will be, and how pretty I am; but that they will never look like me. I am someone they never want to be; in any way, shape, or form.
I have felt ashamed about how I look for so long that I have lost count of the number of years. I read Louise Hay's "You Can Heal Your Life," and I can honestly say that I can look at myself in the mirror and mean it, on some level, when I say, "Lori, I love you just as you are." I tell myself, "I love you" as I put lotion on. I have learned that beating myself up is no way to change a behavior. I accept the fact that I weigh more now, after the surgery, than I ever anticipated to in my life. I just lack the willpower to make a huge life change, and it keeps me up at night. I am going to have to accept myself, or start completely over, and I don't know how to do that.
I never thought I would be a housewife and mother at this point in my life. I always knew I would be a musician. I knew that my music would be my life. Music is a big part of my life; but not the way I ever thought it would be. The journeys that I sing for those who want to listen, feed my soul. In the best of times, they hold a space of love for others to find stories or remember things that help them to heal their lives in many ways. I am joyful to be a conduit for these things. I hope that I can continue to sing journeys for all my life.
I look down at my arms, and I see the way they shake at the top when I play my drums or hug my daughters. I think of my aunt sitting at the table in her kitchen, smoking a cigarette, and eating a piece of lemon ice box pie while playing cards with her friends. My arms look like her arms.
I think about the perfect love, and perfect trust that I felt for her when she put her arms around me and hugged me. I hope my daughters and those I love feel that when I hold them. I hope that maybe others will remember me as fondly, when my time comes to leave, as I do her now. I am ashamed that I ever thought of how I didn't want to be like her. Now that I am standing in a pair of similar, sensible shoes, I see that it is not the worst place to be. I release the need to be someone I am not. Flabby arms and all; I stand on the shoulders of my ancestor mothers, and aunts, I am proud of who I am. I still have room to grow, and to shrink.
I am not anyone that I ever wanted to be; but I am proud of who I am. Maybe soon, that will be enough