Friday, March 27, 2020

My Body - Getting To Know You (aka What I'm Doing At Home)

Well now, things are interesting. (Dear reader, I do not know where you are in time, and I do know that things are always interesting, but this post is being written in March 2020 near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, so keep that in mind as you read the type of interesting I am referring to and the type of response I'm choosing. Thanks, friend!)

Clearly, I've had all the common thoughts. What a perfect time to shift the world in sustainable ways! What a wonderful reason to consider how we care for each other and rethink our willingness to be inconvenienced! How excellent to connect with and get to really know our children and spouses! And I confess, my daily life is hardly disrupted by staying home. That's what I do. Write, read, dance, sit outside or inside, but all mostly at home. 

I was, however, chewing over a fantastic opportunity my sister had given me to work with her as a production coordinator. I've said yes to projects so far but promised to make a concrete decision on whether I would be her production coordinator and not just accept jobs convenient to me. So far I've always said yes, but just before COVID-19 decided to barricade business as usual, my sister was getting consistent offers that would have me rarely home and working often. Did my hubby and I want that? I promised to decide but was filled with anxiety about doing so.

Then this. Stay at home and shelter in place orders around the world. (Probably my fault. The Universe figured it would call my bluff by saying, "Oh, this is such an important decision and worth so much worry because why? The world will stop turning if you choose wrong? Well then, let me stop everything so you can take your time, lady." Well, in response, I have made decisions. So, ya. Sorry about that! Things should return to healthy, though hopefully not to their usual, soon.) 

Anyway, speaking of my sister, yesterday something happened with her that gave me another idea of what I should do with this time at home. Keep in mind, my home is an empty nest. It is me and my husband alone. Our youngest son visits from University - two hours away - sometimes, but with our other children and family members and grandchildren living in California, it is mostly just us. So when my sister thanked me in a text for making a dermatologist appointment for her that resulted in a suspected melanoma biopsy (my dad died from Melanoma and my entire family history is saturated with cancer) I had a thought. 

You see, we knew to make that appointment because we recognized a mole on her body misbehaving. The mole we were concerned about was on her stomach. Turned out, though, that it was a mole on her butt that was the true concern. 

Well now. We don't really spend much time looking at her butt, so we may never have noticed that! 

This isn't the first time I've thought about how unfamiliar I am with my own body. It's not even the first time I've thought about it in relation to the dangers of not knowing my body. But it is the first time I've thought about it while our town is under stay-at-home orders and the health of our community is at the forefront of the collective consciousness reminding us that our responsibility to health is in our hands. 

So, I am spending this time getting to know my body. It's freaking hot here in Texas, so rather than turn on the air conditioner constantly I am walking around in minimal clothes. No one will be coming over for a visit, I don't have to quickly get dressed and head out to run errands,  this is a good time for this. 

I'm not going to walk around minimally dressed all day every day. But I plan to do it as often as is comfortable (well, it's not comfortable because I'm unfamiliar with my body this way, but I am old enough and experienced enough to know it will become comfortable) and to stop shying away from looking. I have moles and stretchmarks and cellulite and, boy, do I have hairy legs! But I need to know this. I need to have answers when asked about my body as usual, and I am responsible for recognizing changes or possible problems.

So, ya. That's one of the fun and important things I am doing with this time. 

Feel free to join me! 

Once you get over the awkwardness of being exposed it actually feels quite surprising and free! My hair tickles my back often and it's nice. The air on my skin - even though it is only indoor air - is soft and unpredictable. Being physically distant from our fellow humans leaves time to experience the touch of air and water. Sure, air and water touched me before but I rarely took the time to experience it. How about you?

Regardless of whether or not you are interested in, able to, or even in need of, getting to know your body during this time, I hope you'll join me in doing something proactive regarding your health and the health of our world. I honestly believe it helps contain and even corral our anxieties during an uncertain time. 

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)