I’ve had a broken wing.
Sometimes gimpy these last 30 years,
it’s been cut up to remove tumor and
strip lymph nodes.
I’ve grieved some things, especially how a swollen pain will insert itself
when I paint and write and prune and plant
and sometimes just breathe air.
I used to imagine the injury a thief,
something that came hunting down my joy and identity,
looking to steal away
the way I expressed
the real of me.
I guess the real thief felt at times too painful to face,
certainly too shameful to share.
If I kept moving forward as wholehearted as I knew how,
I could pack that stuff away and defy the damage with my life-living.
Could out-maneuver the regret always simmering beneath the surface.
But there it would come again, from deep down in my basement, an ugly accusation:
“you did this to yourself; you get what you deserve.”
It took a lifetime to build that message,
taking root long before 30-year-old me got silicone breast implants.
A mother of 3 under five, I felt depleted, un-see-able,
one who is less
(which was a tragic flaw for a girl who was also just way too much).
And so I let them cut me open and put things right,
to add enough
so that I may become
one who is loved.
It had seemed like a solution,
the result of an unlikely offer, free of charge, which felt serendipitous.
Of course the brochures boasted that they would easily correct my flaw
so that I could make my way through this world with confidence as a woman.
It would be a breeze.
After surgery the anesthesiologist approached me, shaking his head,
to tell me how it had taken more than double the drugs to keep me down
and that I’d even briefly woken – how I’d be especially groggy for awhile because
I’d been so heavily medicated.
I think my heart was screaming what I couldn’t yet hear.
Every woman who chooses this surgery has her own reasons;
mine were rooted in lies.
And somehow my body knew it.
I had a brief skin reaction to the implants in the weeks following surgery
and there came an inexplicable fatigue.
In the months and years to come it felt like there’d been a break-up between me and my body,
as if I’d bought some ill-fitting shoes and just needed to woman up and wear them.
I willed my mind to accept these better breasts as my own.
The recovery had been a far cry from the quick bounce back to normal
all the busty nurses had reassured
and I wanted to just smooth it all over and move on.
I felt ashamed, as if I deserved the discomfort I carried
because I’d been the one who put those pebbles in my shoe
and needed now to suck it up.
(continued next post)
There is way more story to tell and it’s coming as I tug it free.
This is the first of a series –
I’m in the thick of working through some heavy things
and coming over here to unpack my stuff
as I’ve done so often.
I’ve got a lot to say and I hope maybe some healing to offer
in the share.
“The three big lies:
I am what I have.
I am what I do.
I am what others say about me.”
– Henry Nouwen
I want to offer up my book as a giveaway during this series.
Because it’s such a love letter to the real, raw, un-fixed of you.
The you who was born to be loved.
Leave a comment and you’re in the drawing.