That’s Gonna Leave a Mark

I don’t know how to tell you this. I’ve been putting it off, because well it’s a little embarrassing. Well, ok, here goes. ‘Member last June when I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and broke my wrist? Well, uh, it seems, a couple of weeks ago, I sorta did it again? Only this time, my left one? Hey, stop giggling! This is serious! Ok, I’m the first person to see the humor in all of it. My little tumble took place during Tech week of “Fiddler on the Roof”, and there were many jokes about taking the phrase, “Break a Leg” literally. *Har har*. One helpful friend said I should put bubble wrap around my wrists. *Chuckle*. My mom says I need to roll so I land on my well-padded derrière. *Stop. Ho ho. I can’t take anymore*. So funny, right? Until it isn’t. When I fell the first time, it was traumatic, inconvenient, all of the things one might expect. But it was a freak accident, no? Not so much if it happens twice within a year. There are certain triggers in life that tend to make one suddenly old. I remember when my Great Aunt Sabina started to lose her hearing. My Aunt Sabina was what we called the “Iron Arm of Power”. Widowed youngish, she traveled, was always impeccably groomed and dressed and had no second thoughts about telling us when we were putting on a little weight, that our hair looked better this way, and that if we didn’t wear hand lotion, we wouldn’t find a husband. Somewhere in her late 80’s, she started losing her hearing, and it wasn’t long before she was in a nursing home. The last time I went to visit her, she took her teeth out, fiddled with them a bit and put them back in. She died not long after. Somewhere deep inside, the “Iron Arm of Power” knew that once you take your teeth out in public, it’s time to go. There are triggers that change us forever. They could be big, like retirement, failing health, empty nests. But sometimes it’s a small thing. Like falling twice in a year. And suddenly maybe you’re afraid to walk long distances alone. Or you only buy shoes that curve up at the toe, so there’s less chance of tripping. And you now have one good hand and it’s still recovering from the last fall, so you feel a little helpless and a little scared and a little old. So you start using the balance ball that’s been gathering dust under your bed and popping calcium pills every day and eating almonds and sesame seeds and oranges. And praying it’s not to late to take better care of yourself, that this scared, helpless, balance-challenged old lady is only here for a little visit. Just a reminder that the choice is mine. I can let the fear and the frailty rule my days. Or I can choose strength. Physical strength, certainly. But when my physical strength needs a break, emotional strength can take the wheel. Create. Act. Sing. Laugh. Treasure my friends and family. Dance like a one-armed wild woman. Refuse to be old even as I get old. Choose strength.

Art and Design, commission