Thursday, January 25, 2007

the space of an hour

It’s 11:32 and I’m here at my desk. I’ve got my hot Gap slacks on, which make my legs look super skinny, plus the three-inch brown boots on my feet make me walk with added shu-bam. I’m wearing Dr. Pepper chapstick on my thin little mouth, and this morning I lathered my face up good with uber-thick moisturizer to fight the threatening scaley skin I so abhor. My cuticles feel more like wooden splinters peeling away from my nails, but never fear. I got lotion for them, too. The sun is bright, the air is brisk. It’s January in Boston. And for the first time ever, I think I’m okay with that.

It’s 11:56 and I just finished talking with a friend who yesterday suffered her second miscarriage. Physically, she’s still in pain and hopped up on 800 mg of Motrin. Emotionally, what words are there? I wanted to cry, but held it in because I didn’t want to make her feel worse. “It’s gonna happen,” I said to her. “I hope so,” she replied. I so wanted to cry.

Her husband had already gotten through security at Logan on his way to New York when he got the call. What does it do to a man to watch the wife he loves experience something so crushing, something he will never experience, something which rips her heart out and makes her bleed, where all he can do is carry the bags and follow her from room to room, from surgery to recovery. Recovery? Does that actually happen? I always worry about the men in these stories.

It’s 12:20 and I just read an email from my bishop. I hold a calling in my church which keeps me in regular contact with him concerning his appointment schedule, and I mentioned in my last email to him how much I appreciated his wife for the wonderful lesson she taught at Institute last night. Bishop responded with some of the sweetest words I’ve ever heard a man say about a woman. What I saw in her, he said, are gifts and talents he has “always known” about her, and just some of the reasons why he loves her so very much. When he talks about his wife, you can tell that this man made the choice to always see her with loving, patient, and adoring eyes. No matter what. He chooses to love her over criticizing her. She isn’t perfect, no one is, but he truly doesn’t care. He chooses to treat her as if she is. That, my friends, is higher knowledge.

It’s 12:29 and on my way to the restroom, a co-worker says to me, “you look so skinny!” I tell her, “It’s the three-inch boots. They change my weight.” You look so skinny - - perhaps the most sought-for compliment a woman can crave. I think it may even rival “You look beautiful.” I’d like to take a woman’s poll on which compliment they’d rather receive: Skinny or Beautiful. I’m afraid of what I’d find. Sometimes I really hate Vogue and Entertainment Tonight.

It’s 12:32. Lunch.

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From the random public, maybe I would prefer skinny.

But when Jason tells me I'm beautiful, it sounds amazing because I know he's talking about all of me. And he loves my curves.
Okay, now that is really interesting to me, Kell. I understand it completely. For the same reason, I think I'd hate to hear both compliments in succession ("you look so skinny, you look beautiful!"), as if to say the reason I'm beautiful is because I'm skinny. I like that, to you, "beautiful" speaks not just to your appearance but who you are in total. And coming from someone whose opinion obviously, and rightfully, means a great deal to you, "beautiful" is totally more meaningful.
I find that ones skinniness is in the eyes of the beholder sometimes, as is beauty. For example, the girls at work think I'm anorexic for some reason (so so so not the case....I'm about 15 lbs above the ideal weight for my height. And okay with it. And while the skinny comment is never shunned, I think I would prefer beautiful anyday.

And as for the miscarriage. I work in a prenatal clinic, and sometimes have to speak to mothers about payment arrangments for the needed proceedures just moments after their miscarriage is confirmed. It's sobering at the very least. But what I've learned is that women, mother's especially, are strong strong souls. And the men in these circumstances (usually, about half are without the male counterpart) display some of the sweetest attributes ever as they are trying to be strong for their wives. Doting, hurting for the mother, the lost child, and with admiration for the mother's incredible strength.

I have always thought that must be one of the hardest things to deal with, and yet it is relatively common. Something many women have experienced in relative silence, soldiering on.
call me skinny and i will give you a big hug.

call me beautiful and i will shine brighter than a star!
I get both. Because I am both.

Very truly yours,
I can validate the truth of Laura's statement. She does get both and, indeed, she is both. Also, we hate her so bad.
Being called skinny is great and all (especially if I've really been trying to reduce the pudge) but given a choice, I'd much rather be called beautiful.
I have to say that my favorite is when you and a fella come in from the cold and even though you think you've been having an ugly day, you take off your overcoat to revel what you think is a rather nice shirt--your outfit's only redeeming quality--and he just steps back, shakes his head and says "Oh, hell, you look good."

(Pardon my freedom. But it is nice.)
As to your friend that had a these circumstances, just be a good friend. Call her and see how she is from time to time--you don't need to say anything special, but the fact that you call is important. I can't tell you how many of my friends, when told about my miscarriages, have said nothing or just stopped talking to me because they didn't know what to say. That hurt ranks right up there with losing the pregnancy.
MJ: I'm so glad for your suggestion. It's hard to know how to act when it's such a difficult experience. But what you say makes so much sense, and I'll be sure to keep in touch with her. Thanks a lot.
actually, my favorite compliment is "smart". I would take "smart" over "beautiful" or "skinny" any day.
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