I've been going to a specialist for almost a year now to help me repair the remaining damage from Baby N's delivery. Month after month I come home from her office feeling like we got somewhere and yet... it wasn't quite me we were taking care of. It's as if we've been going down a textbook list of options rather than addressing my life in particular.
I went into today's appointment intent on understanding the big picture of what we're working on. We started with an explanation of the diagnosis. Then I did something new, "I want to tell you about my life a little bit so that we're treating me." Ok. "I don't have a car." Oh! "So everywhere I go I'm walking & carrying at least one bag."
Suddenly my best treatment option was my worst. (It would require 6 weeks of no lifting and no activity beyond a leisurely stroll. Great for a suburban minivan mama, but prohibitive for an urban pedestrian family.) We went back through the possibilities, covered all of my questions, got me more info, and even brought in a nurse practitioner that the doctor deems especially gifted with these treatment options. Speaking up made a real difference in the methods we'll use to treat my body. And it's renewed my optimism about and my commitment to the treatment plan.
Looking back, this whole week has presented me with the message "speak up." Starting at church on Sunday (see zucchini & onion below); next establishing a timeframe for placing S the Cat in his new home (his new mom picked him up last night); then providing clear boundaries and feedback at my job (& getting results!); and now advocating for healing my body in accordance with my family's lifestyle.
"Finding your voice" is easily cliche in a post-women's studies, girl-power culture. I talked about it so much in my twenties that it became an empty refrain in my mind. Disillusioned with all my feminist ideals, and preoccupied with other real life things (like making the rent), my "voice" sort of faded out of range. Lingering. Lying in wait. Now I'm remembering the power of speaking up - in my own real life voice and what I have to say about real life. And I think that is where the ideals become real, the cliches regain some substance, and make a difference.
Circle image found at US Women Connect: Linking US Women & Girls to the Global Women's Movement. "The national women's action network linking US women for collective action on the US women's agenda." Please be sure to visit Girl's Connect page for a really cool set of resources for girls (women might enjoy them too!).