Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Being Happy In Your Own Skin...

Nothing is harder on an artist or crafter than not being able to use their hands!

I overdid it a bit spreading 4 yards of mulch around our property before we leave on vacation today over the past 3 weeks, working like a fiend on the few non-rainy days we had. In the process, I gave myself a nasty case of tennis elbow (shouldn’t that be mulch elbow since I don’t play tennis?). In order for it to heal, I’ve had to do little or no drawing, stitching, gaming, knitting, typing or anything involving my right hand for the past week. Aaaargh!

Though Erin reminds me that the same thing happened when I shoveled all the gravel a few years ago right before my back went out, I found myself wallowing in worries and fears about my body being less invincible than I think... and how that affects my ability to be creative. I am less afraid of growing old than I am of getting something like arthritis that will cripple my hands... but this is the only body I live in, so I will just have to learn how to pace myself.

All I am taking to France is two sketchbooks. I plan to draw for the sheer joy of it and give my hands a break from everything else they do to fill my days.

Here’s what I meant to blog about last weekend when my hands couldn’t type...

The death of Michael Jackson and all the video tributes has made for some very interesting discussions in our household. Neither of my kids are very familiar with his music or videos and had certainly never seen pictures of what he looked like as a young man before the endless rounds of plastic surgery.

The French have a wonderful expression “etre bien dans sa peau” which basically means that you are comfortable in your own skin and happy with who you are.

Erin wore 3 inch heels to her Grade 8 graduation to have fun with her height since she knew that she’d be the tallest one there anyway. Some of her classmates had “dissed” her choice of dress as not being fancy enough when she described it to them (this is a grade 8 graduation for pete’s sake!) or told her that she didn’t know how to dress up from her jocky everyday school look... and BOY, did she prove them wrong! Why go for “pretty” when you can go for statuesque and stunning?

Nick was heartbroken that his school ceremonies were on the same night, but he bought a corsage for her and posed in our front hallway with her before she put on her heels to be taller than him.

When she strode across that stage to accept her award certificate, all I could think of was how proud her 6’3” great grandmother would have been! She always put her fingernails between my shoulder blades if she caught me slouching and told me to be proud of my height. I am sure that she is the reason I up straight and have great posture to this day.

There are many things about ourselves that we can change and quite a few that we cannot.
What matters is that each of us try to learn to “be well in our own skin”, to love who we are as unique creations and to take care of our bodies both inside and out.

I remember my own high school years and know that it will have challenging moments for Erin as well... but I am so glad that she is learning to have fun with the inches she has been given and celebrate them. To paraphrase the words of She-Hulk in her classic graphic novel “I’m 6’7” and green. People are going to stare anyway, so I might as well wear what I like!”