The scar will be here. Over my heart.
When the fascination began I’m not sure. But understanding the power of definition and how definitions shape my view of life gets me fired up. In a good way.
Intentionally defining yourself and your experience is crucial to well-being. I tapped into the power of definition here and here on the blog I write with my friend and partner in transition mentoring, Barbara James. The timing of these articles = sychronistic.
The need to define my experience so that it doesn’t define me is top of mind lately. Why? Because the word s-u-r-g-e-r-y came up in February. I had a did-he-really-say-that!? meeting with my neurologist. No one ever died of double vision. I don’t give referrals. I’d be insulted if you went to see someone else. (And that was just the opening and the closing. The middle was just as horrid.)
That same week I happily insulted condescending and arrogant neurologist and found new, wonderful (even adorable!) neurologist. But both doctors agreed on one thing: the removal of my thymus, also known as a thymectomy, as best for my overall well-being and long-term treatment for Myasthenia Gravis. Which means surgery. General anesthetic. Chest tubes. Several days in hospital. Ugh.
I’ll have the same incision and process of opening the chest as someone needing open heart surgery. I’ll have the zipper without being a member of the Zipper Club. I may have mentioned this before. I may mention again. It’s taking time to process the queasy reality now set for late July 2015.
The Art of Redefining
Art is one way I define and redefine what I find in life. It began with furniture in 2003. I rescued experienced chairs and desks and redefined them with fresh vision, vibrant color and design. Something sad became something delightful.
Now I’m working on my own rescue and recovery. Thinking of major surgery, the invasive process, the changes to my body — I feel overwhelmed and queasy (no better word for it). To cope with these feelings I’m turning to art.
I’ve asked two women I love to help me catalogue my body with photography — before, during, and after surgery. Yvonne and I have already scouted a location and taken some initial shots. (See the picture above.) Beatriz and I meet for a shoot this Tuesday.
Own, Connect & Create
I mentioned the body photo project to my friend and film instructor Carrie. I want to own my story, I told her. I asked if she’d like to make a documentary. Yes! she replied without hesitation. Carrie went on, I don’t mean to sound trite, but this will be so empowering, Rebecca. Women. Body issues.
Oh, right. That.
So now I’m making a documentary! Carrie and I shoot “journaling” clips of the process where I speak right to the camera. She also captures bits of the photo project with Yvonne and Beatriz.
Now, instead of feeling queasy in isolation, I feel queasy, creative, and connected with three amazing artists.
My neurologist is on board. She’s agreed to be filmed for the project too. With these warm, generous, delightful women, I am redefining something scary and heavy. It will not make surgery delightful, but as I own my story, connect and create, I feel empowered.
The scar will be over my heart. Which I pour out here.
I pour out my heart because we all have scars that need loving definition. How will you choose to define your scar?
More on this project in the weeks ahead.