Body Armor and Good Shoes

Image

Today I am dressed for work. Really dressed for work; black pencil skirt, lovely drapey blouse, suit jacket, neutral pumps (understated and professional with a good dash of sexy). My hair is short and styled, my makeup is appropriate and my accessories complement without distracting. Pearls, actually.

If you look a bit closer at the outfit, the shoes, the hair and the look you’ll see the hidden rivets. The seams where the metal  of the breastplate meets the tasset show the dents of the club hammer and the effort that went into its construction. Those good shoes… they’re really a modern sabaton; protection, baby.

Don’t think for a moment that I woke up this morning and decided to dress like this because heels feel awesome, because I love panty-hose. These earrings were chosen mindfully and the necklace too. My clothes are my armor.

There are things in my life right now that demand my full attention. My energy has to be rationed and my strength shored up. I am not up to the challenge in jeans and a t -shirt; I need something external to let me know I can handle what I must handle. I need to look in the mirror and see someone who is competent, strong, determined and certain. At the moment I’m none of those things, so for that, I need a disguise. I need a costume. I need armor.

A friend observed that often when women separate from their partners they begin to dress better than they used to. He seemed to believe it to be a peacock preening kind of thing; a desire to strut, to appear attractive. I’m offering another possible explanation; it’s fear. It’s fear, dressed up to look like courage. It’s armor.

Look at me… I look great. I look strong. I look like I know what I’m doing.

I’m a jelly fish. A jelly fish in really good shoes.

Powerfully Powerless

sisyphus

Personal power. What is that? It’s not the same thing as personal strength. Personal strength I have in spades. Power I have far less of. Far less than I’d like, far less than I’d need to change any of the important things I believe need changing. I have strength, I have determination, I have drive and I have fortitude. But I don’t have power. I can influence, I can suggest, I can advocate and I can agitate. I can irritate, I can instigate and I can pester. But I don’t have Power.

I can’t make you do what I think is right. I can’t make you do what I think you must. I can’t make Him do what is so clearly needed. I can’t make them change the way they think, they act, they enact, they legislate. I can’t. I don’t use that word often. I can’t. Power is not something you can simply have by believing you have it. Power isn’t something I can drum up like confidence or belief or faith or mule headed stubbornness. I don’t have the power to make change happen.

I will lend my voice. I will stand to be counted. I will wave a banner or hold up a sign or sign on the dotted line and do my level best to be a force for change. I will speak loudly in my biggest  small voice and demand to be heard. And I will often feel small. Smaller for trying. Smaller for caring. Smaller for giving such a huge important damn.

There is so much change I feel is needed; little micro changes in my own life, larger macro changes in my community and giant leap forward changes in my country and the world. I am tired of trying to be powerful. I am tired of being chicken little. I am surprised so few people seem to notice. The sky might be falling but you seem fine… you seem not to notice it, you seem okay. Maybe, since power is only really available to a few, and I don’t think those few really play for my team, I should work on cultivating contentment. Stop seeking the power to change things, and seek instead the comfort of apathy.

Happy July everybody. The sun is shining so it’s all good. Right?

It’s tiresome, but I know I won’t be able to cultivate apathy. I am hard wired to give a damn. To keep pushing. To keep trying to jump just high enough to make sure you hear what I want you to hear. That’s ego, I guess. But it’s also a desire to connect, to work for things that matter to me and to demand I don’t just give up. I am going to always push against the easy if the easy feels wrong, feels like the lazy way. So chances are if you and I know each other in real life I have annoyed you at least once, or will.  I’ll work on that, but I will also keep working for what matters to me.

Can’t help it.

For the Nurses

My daughter and I have been keeping company with some pretty wonderful nurses in our general hospital this week. It amazes me, what they do. They poke, prod, cajole, encourage, insist and assist. My gal has come through a pretty painful operation and is recovering slowly, and the nurses have been great. I would love to say the same about her surgeon…. I can’t.

It’s fascinating to observe the God Complex in action, up close. It truly shocks me that even today some doctors prefer patients (and presumably patient’s mothers) who do not ask questions. I was treated to a fabulous display of petulant rage yesterday when I asked the doctor a question…he took it to be (I guess) an insult or assault on his skill. It was the first time I have seen a surgeon yell in a hospital room. Lovely, and so good for patient morale, don’t you think?

Which brings me squarely back to the nurses. I imagine it can be incredibly challenging and sometimes draining to deal with sickness and death, with interfering and emotional families. I think it must be enormously difficult to have to be the liaison between difficult doctors and their patients. Our surgeon has a reputation for his atrocious bedside manner….pity the nurse who must step in afterward to clean up that mess.

So to all the nurses working 12 hour shifts on hospital wards with patients who don’t always cooperate, families who don’t always understand and doctors who don’t always give a damn, thank you. You help in ways you’ll never know.

20121221-105747.jpg

Watching her sleep.

My daughter, at 15 years old, has had 17 surgeries. That’s as of this morning….it surely won’t be the final tally. She is a beautiful and talented actress, a killer soccer player and an awesome volleyball player. She also has the shittiest luck medically. I won’t catalog her issues, but just know that she is ALWAYS the one in a million….the worst case scenario.

So I am watching her sleep off the anaesthetic now, face cold and pale. I realize we could be facing the impossible possibility of spending Christmas in hospital for the second year in a row. I wonder why karma has it in for my beautiful beautiful girl. I wonder if and where I will find the courage to tell her the truth about her medical future. I wonder, again and again if, somewhere along the way there was something I missed, something I could have done differently, something that would change where she is now.

When she wakes up I will have to find a path toward the truth, but for now I will watch her sleep and kiss her forehead as many times as I feel like it.