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Posts Tagged ‘My body’

One of the blogs which has stolen my heart recently is Eat the Damn Cake, written by Kate, a friend of mine and a bright and thoughtful writer.

Honestly, not all of her posts resonate with me. Mainly, I think, because I don’t have any striking, niggling, or even fleeting issues with my body. Or: I like the way I look the majority of the time. And some of the time, a lot of the time, I love the way I look.  I often feel “left out” of feminine friendships and conversations when the topic turns to, “Oh, I wish I didn’t have these arms,” or “I just can’t stand my neck.”

Kate and I share a deep commitment to valuing dialogue, so I e-mailed her, saying, “Sometimes your blog doesn’t resonate with me…”  And she asked me to guest post.

My post, “Stephanie Talks Body Love,” is an attempt, by me, to explain both why I am comfortable with the way I look, and also why I try to resist the negative self-talk that too many women my age (in my opinion) engage in.

The post has gotten a lot of comments– all of them from women who either applaud my statement, or wish they could share my confidence.  It’s slightly odd, given that I can be–in the middle of many a’night–riddled with anxiety, to think, “I am a confident women.” In this arena, however, I surely am.  I mean– I work at it to some degree, inasmuch that A: Men don’t so frequently undergo such self- and societal-scrutiny, and I don’t think that’s fair, and B: I am an educator and an advocate children, and I will be darned if I will allow negative voices (that aren’t true) to work against my girl students.

Well, there are other reasons.  It’s a lot to unpack. Haiti, and malnourished orphans have a little to do with it. My deeply held belief that I am a beloved child of God (and clearly God would think I am beautiful) has something to do with it, the way I have been influenced by Dominican sisters (in Truth, in true beauty and Grace, in What Really Matters), and in the way the most influential “images” of women in my lives come from literature, not from ads.  To begin with.

I want to write more about this. I also want to answer the commenter who asks, “What’s the difference between self-confidence and vanity?” This is actually a question I ask myself in regards to my academic abilities, but I think it’s worth articulating how I feel about personal appearance.  I also want to connect my ideas with those of other women who have influenced the way I think…  Perhaps a short series on this blog will be forthcoming.

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Flinder of bone

I had my CT scan last Friday.  I have to admit–the machine was very cool.  The office was in Columbus Circle, so the moon-gate machine stood in this corner room with spectacular Christmas-in-the-City views.  Because the machine is so big, the room was actually the largest single room I’ve been in in midtown.  I was amazed at how quickly and silently the levers raised the cot I lay on, up and forward, up, up, and slightly more forward.  Barely a whir.

This morning, the orthopedist left a detailed and kindly message on my voicemail; I was asleep, apparently he works early.  A corner of my bone has chipped off; the ligament surrounding it tore it loose when I fell.  

I am surprised: first of all, I think my bones are very, very strong. I drank nothing but whole milk with all meals until college.  I’ve never had a broken bone: how does a piece chip off?  Secondly, I think of ligament as– sort of loose, muscular, stringy.  How does that have enough strength to make bone disconnect from bone?  I must no nothing about physiology.  

Luckily, the bone piece is “aligned well,” so I don’t need a pin or surgery.  I just have to keep it in the cast, and stay off of it, for six more weeks.  So much easier said than done– I already have cabin fever and am dying to get back into the office where I work, and I dearly want to walk around downtown and see all the Christmas windows.  

Maybe I can hire one of those pedicabs to drive Matt and me around, shop window to shop window.

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Giving blood

I gave blood today.  It was M’s idea; he’s been doing it pretty regularly for long before I knew him.  The past few times I’ve had the opportunity, I wasn’t able because I’d been to Haiti too recently.  And once, they couldn’t find a vein.  (They dug around for a while, digging, digging, and finally apologized and thanked me for trying.)

The blood drive was combined with a health fair in the school where M. teaches.  Student volunteers ushered us around, most officiously and full of importance.  They were great, insisting that we drink juice and carrying our bags.  I was looking around, and I thought, “I want to give blood, too.” 

So I filled out the paperwork–that series of questions, “Have you ever…?” is such an encapsulation of the fears and knowns of our society today–and waited my turn.  I chatted with the nurses, asked some questions (I’m always curious about medical technology, and equipment), and waited my turn.

Finally, I laid on the beach chair and let the nurse look at my arms.  As expected, she couldn’t really find any veins, on her first look.  She called a male RN over for advice, and he showed her how to find her best chance.  I was a little nervous.  When I’ve needed an IV, I’ve had to take it in the hand, such are the shy and hiding ways of the veins of my arms.

But the nurse did a fine job, and only dug a bit–this digging, or rooting, for the vein is the weirdest part, especially when I consider that this is part of my body, connected to all the other parts of my body, and something from _outside_ is touching it.  Incising it. 

Soon I was all hooked up and taped down, and I obediently pumped the little hand-thing, while the blood came out of me.  It’s so, so strange, that with all of the technology we have, we still need the blood of another person.  The literature we had available said that a car accident victim can use up to 50 units of blood–that’s fifty volunteers like me.  A cancer patient can need 6 units of platelets a day.  A day!

After it was over, and my blood was neatly packaged in a little rubber bag, I asked the nurse if it was warm, and could I feel for myself.  She said it was, and of course.  I put my hand on the bag, and yes, my blood was very warm.  So strange, again, that this was inside me only moments ago, but will still _work_ and do everything blood is supposed to do, not too long from now, when someone else needs it. 

What a crazy undertaking.  It’s a good thing to do, and interesting.  I learned that I have excellent iron counts, and remembered that our bodies are strange and weirdly known and mysterious.

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