I have many addictions:
~Starbucks tall carmel machiattos in the late afternoon ~ Christmas ~ reading to, and now reading with, my youngest before bed ~ books, old and new ~ music, all kinds ~ Holidays ~ Snow and a winter’s fire ~ family dinners ~ long car trips ~ good old fashioned cards and letters, you know the ones sent in the mail? ~ not email ~
~ Dishes ~
~ Decor ~ Tea ~ Theme days ~ Entertaining ~ Gardening ~ Hiking ~ Crafting and making things~ ~Pretty paper calendars and paper in and of itself ~
~ History, and being the tour guide to any historical or architectural site (my kids hate this) ~ The country ~ theatre ~ concerts ~ old movies ~ Body Combat Class ~
What was that last one? Yes, you just read it correctly… Body Combat Class… on Wednesday and Saturday am’s in particular with a certain shall not be named, but you know who you are, instructor. She kicks my butt and inspires me at the same time to push harder and let everything go for one hour. It was during this class one early Saturday morning that the revelation hit.
I am wearing shorts!
AND who the heck cares!
The thought struck me that the women behind me could probably make out what looked like I- 95 on a roadmap on the back of my left knee as well as where Rt. 1 veered off and traversed down my left calf. My right leg was in a whole different state. (Think paper road maps…not the GPS.)
One of my non-addictions? Wearing shorts.
That is, ever since the birth of our third child. Before that time, I had a couple of spider veins here and there, nothing major, due to my years waitressing and teaching. Well, baby #3 came along and then 4 and then 5 and well…let’s just say that the dam burst and the floodgates were opened. Where the heck is she going with this, you are probably asking yourself right now?
Well, the thought struck me right in that class, that my legs look much like a road map of my life. Pretty smooth and unmarked during my youth. Resilient to the long hours being supported by them. Then slowly, as children were added to my life, the veins began to appear. The road surface became a little bumpier, the routes a little more convoluted. With each child appeared a new vein or a new route to be taken. Until approximately ten years ago, when our youngest was around two, the map had become so intertwined and the routes were all twisted and I could not tell the end from the beginning, I stopped wearing shorts. Too embarrassed by my marred legs and probably spurred on by the innocent words of my then four year old, “Mommy it looks like someone hit you with a baseball bat on your legs.”
So my road map was hidden. At least on my legs. (The lines on my face and the grey hair is another story) Under duress or occasionally out of necessity, I would have to don a pair of shorts or a short dress and I would uncomfortably walk about, sure to be bringing up the rear for the fear of showing them off to the unfortunate souls behind me. About two years ago, I got so fed up with it all, the appearance and the discomfort, that I finally went to a vascular surgeon. “These need to be taken out,” he said. “We no longer need to strip them, we can do a much simpler procedure.” I succumbed with the lure of near perfect legs again and the fact that the recovery he assured me would be just one day! Come on, I could spare one day to be bedridden. It might even be nice! The enticing thought of laying in bed for a full day, maybe watching the tube all day or reading a full book… or just lying in bed all day with an excuse, spurred me on. The time came and lets just say that the 30 or so numbing needles they injected up and down my leg were not nice and I have had five natural births. I knew that I did not go to Med school for a reason. Watching, as he pulled and cut little pieces of the vein out of my leg was about as pleasant as getting a root canal. Not to mention the watermelon size bruise that resulted in my upper thigh, the chills, and the crashing in bed after taking the prescribed pain meds. One day? my ….
Did I mention that they could only do one leg at a time? Leg #2 was scheduled for two weeks later. I was already committed and had to do it. What they don’t tell you is that after you get this done, blood is blood and it has to find another way. That’s when the break out veins appeared. I threw my hands up at that point and my vision of actually being cool in the summer while wearing a pair of shorts disappeared.
Then came this past summer and my Body Combat class. It was hot as the dickens and even hotter in the gym. I always wear a pair of exercise pants because between the veins and the pale cast of my skin, I kind of look like a naked mole rat with varicosities. ( Did you ever notice that varicose veins stand out so much more on pale skin?) Well, they have this thing called self tanner and it works wonders on us ghostly folk, if applied properly. If not, it looks like you soaked yourself in orange food coloring after smearing it around your body. On this particular day, I had applied properly and had a little bit of color from the beach…or maybe it was a merging of the mass of freckles that made it look like I had a semi tan. Either way, I felt like I did not have the naked mole rat thing going on so why not? I am only going to the gym I thought. I’ll stand in the back! We live in a very old house of which only a small portion is air conditioned so I was already sweating. I pulled on this cute little tennis skirt thing that I had bought at Target months before as part of a wishful thinking weak moment and out the door I ran. (Aren’t we always running?)
This brings me to the moment I had mentioned earlier on in this story. I was wearing shorts and who the heck cared! I had finally gotten to this point in my life where it seemed like such a trivial little fetish. Chalk it up to age, chalk it up to being in the middle of a room of totally sweaty woman working their butts off, each motivated for a different reason but coming together for one common goal. To get and stay healthy. There is an energy in the air in those classes that is palpable. We are all working together not against each other, as woman can do. The story of my life is written on my legs and I have stepped out on those legs… outside of my comfort zone… and guess what???
I survived! I was reinvigorated and even wore shorts a few more times this summer. That is not to say, that I might have walked sideways under certain circumstances so as not to give them the full view, but I wore them!
Now, you are all saying I am sure, why the heck did she publicly write about her varicose veins? Well, as most of you know by now, I am co-hosting an event at the barn that is a mini retreat for woman entitled Exclaim Your Life! This is part of it! It might take time, years in fact depending on where you are, but we can make life an exclamation point. We all have issues that we are dealing with that often keep us preoccupied and keep us focused on the negative instead of the positive. Some issues are superficial, some run a whole heck of a lot deeper. Whatever they are, let’s try and refocus and zone in on what makes us tick. What are we passionate about? What inspires us? How do we take care of ourselves so that we can take care of the others in our lives? I have read Lu Ann Cahn’s (our guest speaker) book entitled I Dare Me, and loved it. Sure, most of us cannot go to the extent that she did to step outside of her comfort zone each and every day, but maybe every other? Maybe on a smaller scale? Join us on November 3rd to band together and work with a group of women who just might help you…wear shorts again!