Friday, March 10, 2017

Let's Hear it for the Girls

This is one of my absolute favorite photos.  I took thousands of them when I was in Italy all by myself following my mother's death.  For an entire month, I walked around the town of Assisi and my camera was firmly planted in my palm, ready to capture moments that I never wished to forget. One afternoon, these two beautiful ladies showed up.  As un-obtrusively as I could possibly be, I aimed my camera, hoping to find a story. My camera was my conduit to the stories that I knew I would later be writing, that the people and places I came upon were pieces of a big picture, participants in a life so large it could only be recorded one frame at a time. The pre-travel goal was simple.  I needed time to heal of course, but I wanted to find stories.  I needed to have new frames of reference that would carry me through the rest of my life if not through the mourning of a cherished one.

Who are these ladies?  Where are they going?  In a matter of a few seconds, my mind whirled with questions and I knew that there were so many possible answers.  They were oblivious to me and my camera, engaged in a conversation.  As they walked uphill, possibly a metaphor in itself, they continued to talk, neither needing to stop to catch a breath.  Apparently, they were conditioned to the demands of their walk, probably having done it on a regular basis for many, many years.  Did they always ascend this hill together at the same time each day I wondered.  One story finds them having just left the home of a friend or a relative.  Were they related?  Sisters?  Sisters-in-law? Cousins? Or, were they life-long good friends?  Were they gossiping?  Maybe they were planning something or sharing a recipe.  Or were they sharing mutual concern over the health of a loved one.  Maybe they weren't coming from a place at all.  They could have been on their way to a familiar location or home.
My questions will never be answered.  I can always enjoy the photo and speculate but it does serve as a constant reminder of the beauty of sisterhood.

This is not about celebrating International Women's Day.  I celebrate that every day, thank you.  But this is about girl friends, gal-pals. You have been MAGnificient and you know who you are.  You are a cause for jubilation each and every day and in my life, you have made your presence known in an even more joyous way than you have ever before.  The last weeks have brought you out in force.  You have called, emailed, texted, visited, driven and taken time to share.  Without you, I would have a lesser life.  With you, my life is filled to the brim with more than I could ever hope for. The times we spent together allowed us to share, gave us the opportunity to catch up on all aspects of our lives and hopefully, solve some of our own little problems.  Women are naturally endowed with that ability, the keepers of secrets, the solvers of problems.  We have power and we have strength and we are not afraid to share love.

Yesterday was filled with post-op medical visits.  My darling friend Beth drove the 45 minutes to the surgeon's office and waited for me.  We needed that time to catch up.  Our lives have been too busy and complicated lately and our regular weekly days-out had fallen by the wayside.  When she dropped me off, we hugged and promised to resume our weekly rituals as soon as we can.  The day before, my amazing pal Lynette picked me up for some R&R, getting me out of the house and helping me to re-enter the real world.  We shopped, we sipped tea, we shared and I was left with a beautiful basket filled with all of the right tools for pampering myself.  How did she know that I needed just that?  Girlfriends.  They know it all.  Intuition.  Empowerment.  Brave spirits.

My day ended yesterday with one final note of pure woman-power, when I had my appointment with my GP, Patty Fater.  She's an amazing woman and I am totally blessed to have her as my very own doctor.  I simply cannot explain her.  To know her is to love her and to trust her and I do all of the above.  When I asked her why I wasn't losing weight despite my low caloric intake and why I wasn't running to the toilet despite my high fluid intake, she put my mind totally at ease.  She spoke to me as only a woman, grounded in the truth would.  Here's what she said:

"Your body is still in a protective mode.  It does not know that you did this intentionally.  It assumes you have been assaulted and it will hold onto everything it can, including volumes of water, until it is sure that you are okay.  Then, and only then, will it feel free to release anything"

I hugged her as we parted and then I gave her some of my wisdom.

"If you are scared that you will go down the same path of one of your ancestors, that heredity will be the only view of the future, be brave and change what you can. And, if you are not completely in love with your doctor, your friend, then find another"

On the scale this morning.....lost a pound. Things are changing.  My body knows I'm a woman!!!

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