For the last few years I’ve been focused on listening to what my body is telling me about how I am feeling. Recovering from ruptured disks I made a point to slow my body and my mind way down. In the beginning when I took walks my steps were as deliberate as a Geisha’s. I had no choice, the swelling was so severe my legs simply wouldn’t move me along as swiftly as I normally walked.
As I improved I decided to continue at my tortoise pace, discovering things about my body I hadn’t noticed before the injury. I’d known for a long time that one leg was longer than the other but couldn’t remember, nor was I concerned about which one it was. I’d become so adept at striking a pose, I had no idea that my right hip was turned ever so slightly in which twisted my whole leg and foot. I’d done yoga for years and had in fact become much more conscious of myself and my body, but not being able to walk, the fear of being paralyzed, dropped me into my skin and bones like nothing else had.
I’m convinced that my back trouble began years ago when I opted for a mommy makeover surgery. My attempt to restore what I thought I’d lost. Part of that procedure is a tummy tuck and when all was said and done I was tucked so tight I couldn’t stand up straight for months. The ways I compensated were subtle, barely noticeable to all but the few who really know me. My bones however bent and twisted like a pretzel to accommodate the new and improved me.
It’s been three years since my back gave out and although I’m not 100 percent, I’m much better than I was before the injury occurred. I used to exercise to improve my physique. To maintain my sex appeal; what I saw as my primary power. Today, I walk, do yoga, mediate and eat right to heal my body and my mind. I am happy to report that my physique is better than it was in my twenties and I think I’m sexier than I’ve ever been.
These unexpected discoveries and recovery gave me the courage to go a bit deeper. I’ve noticed that my jaw is tight alot of the time. I also tend to get sore throats, even when I don’t have a cold, which seems to be connected to my tight jaw and the muscles in my neck. This morning I realized my jaw was locked so I dropped my mouth open and took a few deep breaths. Wondering what my face looks like when I’m clinching my teeth I went to the mirror to check it out. Hmmm? When I relaxed my face muscles, let my throat open, I noticed that my lips droop slightly at the corners making me appear sad, even though I’m not. The thought that came to me was, Do I have the courage to face the world looking like I’m sad? They next thought that came was, I’m ugly.
Not thinking anymore about it I headed off to an early morning meeting. As I sat listening to what others had to say I practiced letting the muscles in my face and my tongue relax. I also decided to practice not pretending I was feeling anything I wasn’t. That meant if someone said something I didn’t think was funny, even though almost everyone else laughed, I didn’t.
After the meeting a man came up to me and put his arm around my shoulder. For some reason he found he needed to assure me, in a rather sarcastic tone, that everything was going to be alright. This guy happens to be what I consider the class clown sort. A funny looking bald guy with legs that look like he rode in on a chicken. During the meeting he mentioned that he’d golfed with his wife over weekend. Also, how unappealing he found it to be when women over fifty encouraged each other by saying things like, ‘you go girl,’ which made most of the room howl. Anywho, arm around me, he proceeded to tell me that he liked it better when I smiled. Caught off guard at the irony of his statement, considering my woman in the mirror encounter earlier, I started to defend myself, then laughed and told him I didn’t care what he liked. Determined, he boldly backed himself up by stating that my smiling was what he preferred, then hurried out the door.
Driving home I thought about how many times men have tried to get me to smile by telling me I look much prettier when I do. Or as this man did, letting me know he preferred it, me, when I smile. What’s that about I wonder? Does making me smile give men pleasure, like being able to bring a woman to orgasm, does it mirror something about themselves back to them? Maybe it’s shallower than that. Simply about how I look. Not much different from women in girly magazines, where they are careful to make sure their face is as inviting and the rest of them.