Let A Man Support You

July 25, 2016

In my misspent youth, I lived on a boat in Fort Lauderdale.  During this time I met a woman, a shut-in with crippling arthritis throughout her body.  Her partner, aptly named Dick (in the nicest possible way) rounded us up at the Marina and took us home to meet her.  He clearly adored her and brought us because he thought it would please his wife.

She had been and writer for the local newspaper and was a woman of rapier wit and very sensitive bullshit detectors. She had a special fleece-lined sofa/chair and drank bourbon all day.  By mid-afternoon she was pretty smashed, but the intellect was always there, although it could turn mean.

I sought to stimulate her and I think she came to like me, though I was obviously made from inferior clay. I was working an office job to support my then-husband while he tended to the restoration of the boat.  At one of our last visits she leaned over, and in a moment of great sobriety and sincerity, this tough-minded, independent spirit woman said:  “Let a man support you.  You deserve it.”

It has taken a long time for the true meaning of her advice to sink in.  We all deserve support in making a full life for oneself and contributing to the lives of others. No one is undeserving, no-one is inferior.

Let a man, or a woman or anything on the spectrum support you.  You deserve it.

 

 

Love is Love is Love is Love

June 23, 2016

Love makes the stars go ’round. Yearning for it makes it hurt so good for us slightly masochistic types. Love is our salvation.  It’s the absolute best thing we’ve got going for us. It lifts us up on eagle’s wings. It makes everything make sense.

Who cares what the package looks like when Love is delivered at the front door? Who would care what Love looks like to others if it looks like perfection to you? Look for your own love. Don’t spend time trying to deny what we all see.  Find and open your own package.  It is never more than a step away whatever path you may be on.  Just turn and look.

I love.

You love.

He loves.

She loves.

We love.

Y’all love.

They love.

 

It conjugates.

 

The Kingdom is likewise unto…1

January 6, 2015

Two women decide to build a house, almost identical and side by side.

The first woman was excited and pleased to be building a new home, a temple for her spirit and spent a great deal of thought and creativity in planning its construction.
The second woman was anxious and stressed over having to move into a new home and spent a great deal of thought and time letting the builders know what she did not want in her house.

The first woman visited the building site daily, excited and pleased by the effort the workmen were making on the construction of her dream home.

The second woman never visited the building site but phoned the contractor constantly about her concerns.

The first woman expressed delight in the way that the workmen were finishing off her house and elicited their ideas on making the most of the space they were creating.  She talked with electricians, dry-wallers, painters and, ceramicists and cabinet makers.

The second woman spent only the time required to make her colour and finish decisions at the office of the contractor and then complained about how long and arduous the process had been.

The first woman lived in a home where she found warmth, peace, comfort and serenity.  Her life was one of blessing.

The second woman lived in a home of problems, frustrations, conflict and turmoil.  Her life was one of curse.

Which way do you think it is in the Kingdom remembering that they lived in identical houses?

Forty Days In The Wilderness

November 20, 2014

It has been 30 days exactly from the date of my surgery and I am still feeling disconnected.  The fact that we’ve just had a snowstorm adds to the feeling of isolation.  Thoughts come and go like water and the desire to express them is sent inward.  Advent begins in 10 days, the perfect wrap-up to my current adventure in healing.

My doctor is quite pleased with my recovery and in a couple of weeks I begin physiotherapy to strengthen my abdominal wall.

I like the way my body feels.  I feel more connected to it. I have to massage the incision sites to  ‘mould’ the tissue as it heals.  As I said to a good friend, all I have to do is lay around all day playing with myself.  This has lead to a reconnection to and a fuller appreciation of this body I have been given.  It truly is a miracle.   I have some serious maintenance to do on the unit: more getting out and walking. The habit of always putting others first in my considerations must be, at least in part, broken.  My needs are not necessarily secondary in all situations.

I am 30 days into breaking this habit and will declare myself healed if I am successful until advent.

Remembrance Day

November 11, 2014

poppies

I remember two things specifically every Remembrance Day:  my grandfather with tears streaming down his face as he marches proudly and stiffly in the Veteran’s Parade; and my father’s sad voice saying “We feel we won the war but lost the peace.”  It is a sad day for those who are able to remember what life was like before, during and after a War.  If we are truly to take up their torch we must come to the defense of all the poor and abused:  women, children, the ill and dispossessed. The old.  To make those we are pausing to remember proud, we make our communities safe for all of it’s members to walk the street at any hour in safety, that all members of the community are well- housed, fed and dressed.  Then we can feel truly good about the willing self-sacrifice of at least two generations worth of our communities’ young people.

Bad Dreams

November 10, 2014

I’ve endured two nights of horrendous anxiety dreams.

So surfaces my psyche.

The dreams concern my children, when they were children and my failure to rescue.  That I was dependant on my Ex for help.  I always wake up before it is clear that he will help, or what ramifications his helping will have.

I have been praying for psychological healing as well as physical healing these past few weeks.  This is possibly how it works out.  Be careful what you wish for, for sure!

It gives an opportunity for the rational brain to adjust the attitude I have toward myself as a mother.  I am completely Mother.  There’s no athlete, no intellectual, no protagonist in here, inside me, that has not been subsumed by this calling.  I am a parent, I am a nurturer, I am a teacher, encourager.  Though I may err in my tactics, my strategy is to build up my children to be everything that there is in them to be.

It seems to be working.

The fact that I would expect my Ex to come to my aid if I asked him speaks volumes of the value of long-term relationships.  As well as he thinks he knows me; he would be amazed at what I know of him.

He is, and always will be:  Father.

Breast Reconstruction Awareness

November 4, 2014

I don’t know why I was surprised to find that there is a BRA group that educates, informs and supports patients that undergo Breast Reconstruction after cancer.  There is a day for it and the website address is http://www.bra-day.com.

I suppose I have been overly influenced by the past generations’ attitude of frivolity/tragedy surrounding issues of women’s health.  If a woman was ill, and not dying from it, she would not presume to make her ailment publicly known.  If mortally ill, it was a woman’s lot to bear her suffering silently and pass martyr-like away, without a word of remorse.

It reminds me of a famous headstone of a woman who finally had her say:  ‘I Told You I Was Sick.’

I have seen much of courage in women who  are undergoing radical treatment for serious and life-threatening illnesses.  Their calm before families, when minutes before they were fretfully in pain and begging for help from their nurse.  I have heard them calming and reassuring their families after a night of gasping in pain.

Breast reconstruction following mastectomy can and is considered Ontario Health as the last stage of recovery from breast cancer.  Unfortunately, modern culture tends to portray the ‘boob job’ as a vanity indulged in by privileged ‘trophy wives’ of the North American aristocracies.  Imagine a man, after having surgery to remove cancers was left horribly scarred…like medieval sword wounds, on his body.  Would not every step possible be taken to amend those scars and the horrible memories attending them?

Cancer in my body was fought and, to the best of medical knowledge, eliminated.  My pre-cancer body did not sport two 8 inch scars on my chest.

If this procedure has meant so much to me, I can only imagine what it must mean to a woman in the prime of here womanhood who must constantly be aware of camouflaging her scars and ameliorate her silhouette with prostheses and strategic dressing and looking forward to having a life-time reminder of her wounds.

The last I read, only 10% of women who lose a breast/breasts to cancer opt for breast reconstruction citing the issue of ‘vanity’ as their reason.  They do not believe that their self-image as a woman is important enough to undergo this major surgery.  Perhaps if it was a magic wand type of treatment…?  Although the reconstruction surgery can be long and painful, the statistics show that the chance of complications following the surgery are in the lowest percentiles of any surgery.  It is also my opinion that surgery a longer-established and statistically more effective treatment for the conditions it is used to treat than is drug treatment.  Yet most of us have no problem ‘swallowing a few pills’ or accepting an intervenous.

Here in Canada, we have some of the best trained, innovative and forward-thinking surgeons in the world.  It is a shame if we allow fear and shame from keeping us from attending to our own best self-care.

I had the most intrusive type of surgery for reconstruction, opting for micro-surgery that used extra body tissue from my abdomen to be used to fill the scars and hollows of my mastectomies.  Younger women must settle for implants, for unlike my 64-year-old self after bearing 4 children in my 30’s, they have no extra flesh to contribute.  It is a shorter and easier surgery with even better statistics than the microsurgery.

What I would like women to know from my experience is the real effects of reconstruction on one’s psyche and in turn the effects on one’s experience of their life.  Perception is everything in the human experience, they say.  This being so, how one sees oneself, both physically and mentally, changes the experience.

It’s Not About The Changes, It’s How You Feel About Yourself

November 3, 2014

I have now had a week to get used to how I look post-surgery.  The first week didn’t count because I didn’t get to see myself and had no interest in doing so.  All I wanted was to stop feeling crummy and come home.

Firstly, the plastic surgeon is an artist and created a credible and aesthetically pleasing feminine silhouette using my own skin as fabric as deftly as any seamstress.  No part of it feels strange to me.  The mastectomies did feel strange, with a sense of loss.  And the loss was more than physical.  There was a sense of lost feminine allure.  Androgyny is not in and of itself undesirable, but it is definitely not for everyone.  My preferred self-image to project is womanly woman and that includes the breast, the nourishment of our species.

So now I am ‘back’ and I feel as easy in this new body as I do in a comfortably-fitting pair of heels.  It doesn’t do anything differently than the previous body, but it sure feels like more to do it.  It is hard to think of it as useless, or a vanity, when it empowers one to live more fully and authentically.

Ouch

November 1, 2014

Well, the surgery went well and the recovery has been nothing short of brilliant.  The outpouring of care and consideration coming from friends and family has been overwhelming and has lifted me quickly and lightly from complete debility to practical independence.  There are so many to thank.

The day after the surgery, I was completely out of control of my body which would not respond to any instructions including “Sit up.  Stand.  And walk.”    Pure, abject terror blown away by a recovery room nurse named Nancy who cajoled and bullied my terrors away.  A staff of lovely, energetic young people who monitored the surgery and my overall health until I was ready to be discharged on the fifth day.  Smart, receptive young people doing incredibly difficult and demanding work with smiles on their faces and kindness in their hearts.

The Minister who risked being late to his youngest child’s graduation from High School to honour his offer to come and return me home from the hospital which was in another city.

The friend who came 300 km. to stay with me for three days and cook and clean for me and make me laugh.

The friends who laugh at my jokes and listen to me cry over my vulnerabilities.  They give me room in which to rediscover myself and start the inner healing.

The ex who undertook the care of our disabled son so that I could confidently enter into this enterprise.

And most of these people can never understand completely the depth of their influence on my recovery, both inner and outer nor the deep sense of gratitude and wonder I feel at their existence.

Sending Myself to The Cloud

October 20, 2014

I heard this line in a movie:  “You should eat regular meals and come down off your cloud.” which started me thinking about cloud analogies of which there are quite a few.  What came immediately to mind, however, was the now ubiquitous icloud and the new saying ‘send it to the cloud’.

Every day we may be awakened anew, but there are times of more profound change than at others.  This is such a time for me.  The transformation has already begun.  I allow myself to imagine having an altered body.  I allow myself to remember feelings about my gender and my sensitivities.  This is a practical decision with spiritual and psychological repercussions that will change my personal bearings.  In order to withstand the vicissitudes of the procedure I find myself leaving everyday preoccupations and preparing my soul for the upcoming physical challenges by sending my soon to be former self, ‘to the cloud’.  To a place occupied only by memories and imaginings.  I am already on the operating table and already back home from the hospital.

I am also remembering my 34-year-old self.

.Me, 1984 001

I love her now much better than I did then.  I am much more gentle with her and considerate of her.  This change in attitude toward my past self actually changes my present self and affects my future.  Self-acceptance removes scars.  And in my case, the removal of scars promotes self-acceptance.

Here I go.