I got my nose repierced last Tuesday, this time on the right side because of the scar tissue at the original site on the left. The hole closed because I couldn’t get the plastic plug in correctly before surgery and metal is a no-no in the operating room. Ergo, it shut up tighter than a lid on Limburger.
Why do it again, you ask? Because the original piercing was an expression of a quasi youthful rebellion that had been banging around inside this arthritic, old-feeling body of mine the last year or so. A nose ring, to me, says, “Hey, I’m fun!” and god knows I haven’t been a barrel of laughs these days. The nose ring is a good reminder.
Almost 3-year-old Claire spent the night Thursday, and on Friday morning she watched me clean my nose ring. The ritual is ridiculously funny – swab soap on the site, sniff salted water up your nose, blow out, suck water, blow, suck water, blow. Swab antibiotic liquid on the site, sniff salted water up your nose, blow out, suck water, blow, suck water, blow.
Claire watched intently, then she laughed and said, “You look like a cow!”
She’d probably seen a photo like this somewhere:
But what I heard wasn’t a 3-year-old observing water coming out of my nose. What I heard were the two boys across the street from where I used to live in 1986 when I weighed 250 pounds the first time. (Yes, I’ve been down that 100-pound weight-loss road before.) I was knocking on my neighbor’s door, happy about something or other, when they yelled out, “Mooo! What a cow!”
Boom, just like that, the happiness was gone. My stomach hurt like they’d physically punched me. I’d been called names before, but “cow” seemed to hurt more than the others. And when Claire said I looked like a cow, for a split second I was self-conscious…again. Fat and therefore should be invisible…again.
Even after all this time thin, after all the work of keeping my body and emotions in sync and healthy, that old feeling of worthlessness lies dormant until it is awakened by a word: cow.
I don’t tell you this to be Debby Downer. I tell you this because it’s reason 593 why losing weight is not the cure for all ills. Losing weight can make us healthier, it can be a real boost to self-esteem, but sometimes it doesn’t matter how good you feel about yourself in the moment. An old sickly feeling can spring up at the most surprising times, fresh as a weed you thought you’d killed last week. Running away from it won’t work. Eating a jelly donut won’t do the trick, either. Facing it, labeling it, and not judging it or myself are the three best tools I’ve found to use when it happens.
I acknowledged the 250-pound me knocking on my neighbor’s door, gave her some loving kindness, and then kissed Claire on the head.
“Grammy DOES look like a cow!” I said. “And what do cows say?”
“Moooo!!” she said.
Giveaway reminder! If you’d like to win Billy Blanks Jr. “Dance With Me Cardio Fit” DVD, jump over to Friday’s blog (click here) and leave a comment to throw your name in the hat. I’ll draw a winner on Wednesday.