Aging in a culture that worships youth is no easy task.
This is a thought I had last year that I jotted down thinking one day it might be part of a blog. Then, I shattered my left arm in multiple places and threw myself into a year-long recovery journey. I couldn’t dress myself for weeks, didn’t shower alone for entirely too long, and didn’t wear make-up for months. Physical therapy continues indefinitely.
I suddenly found myself disconnected from my body in several new ways. My fingers remain numb and my hand stopped feeling like my own flesh. To me, for right now, my left hand and fingers feel a little fake. I’m also worried about every step I take. I never want to fall again. Not only do I look old, I feel old. I’ve separated somehow from wholeness and embodied living.
In this space, I’ve found my way to a book called, The Wisdom of Your Body by Hillary McBride. Her perspectives on finding healing, wholeness, and connection with our bodies are truly illuminating. So many places throughout this book I’ve found myself crying over the lack of understanding of my own body – and not just because of my recent injury. I can also see how my 23-year infertility journey negatively altered my connection with my body. I now see other important work that still needs to be completed regarding infertility, seemingly years after that story was resolved.
Here’s a closing letter from this book that I’m embracing with my whole heart, not only for the remaining days of my current recovery timeline but for all of the aging and changes that remain ahead for Dawn. And, though this is all deeply personal, I’m sharing these thoughts in case anyone else needs to hear them too.
“Dear Body: No one else will take this journey of life with me, all the way from the beginning to the end. As you change, I will remember what we have been through together. When you show lines and marks, it will be the storybook of what we’ve lived, reminding me daily of all the times I have laughed, chopped apples carelessly, fallen from the swing set, and squinted to see the beautiful day under a bright sky. Skin, you tell me about what it means to become wise, and joints, you remind me that we are not permanent. But I refuse to shame you because you cannot do what you used to.”Hillary McBride, The Wisdom of your Body, pg. 257.