Translate: Facing Fear–Day 7 of Getting Dressed


Tonight I muster up
“Concentrated power of will”
To don some extra special “get up”
And attend opening night
At the CO Ballet by myself,
Some of the best company there is.
Luscious plum berry dress from holiday past,
Still looks good,
Selected to help keep my mood festive.

Haven’t worn makeup in 6 weeks
I wear a little now.
Never been a big cosmetics user
But tonight I paint my lips red
Full and fresh, ripe apple sheen.

Examining myself in a full length mirror
Inside the ladies room
Before heading to my seat,
My hearts sinks a notch.
I have to make my way among the well dressed,
But every step I take
Translates into nerves.
I worry that my appearance is lacking.

The permanence of injury
Makes me self conscious
Of my torso’s new asymmetry.
Rib cage punched inwards from my accident
Leave bones on my left, good side,
More bulbous than my right
Making my clothes fall a little differently,
Marking me forever as having been hurt there.

My musculoskeletal structure will probably
Always be lopsided, which saddens me.
I don’t yet know how this bone issue
Will effect anything muscular or cardiovascular.
Still healing, I haven’t yet asked my body
To move rigorously like it yearns to.

Will pulling in oxygen on my right side during
High intensity physical activities
Prove more difficult now?

When working my muscles hard
Will asymmetry make
An already established propensity
To tilt left, even worse?

Chiropractics or physical therapy may follow
I’m unsure.
I’ll consider those next steps later
When I’m pain free.

For now, I’ve recalibrated
Life’s pace down to slow motion.
With ego checked at the door,
My goals span only two main things:

Getting through each day
One at a time
During which getting dressed
Plays a significant role
Breathing deeply–Asking my reluctant rib cage
To expand and contract as fully as possible
To bring the most air into my lungs
Even though uncomfortable.

Even as I fret, I am aware
Things could have panned out a lot worse.

“Did you fall on snow only, you think?
Were there any rocks or
Hard ground underneath?,”
The doctor asked me.
I hadn’t even thought about the more
Dire consequences landing on
Harder surfaces would have caused.

Thank goodness I was phone-less that day too.
My phone, too big to fit inside my coat,
Remained in the car.
Its hardness would have impaled
And further harmed me upon impact.

So, I sit here
Enjoying the din of a night out,
The hustle and bustle of a fancy venue
Complete with lighted Chihuly glasswork
Static pirouette unfolding from the ceiling.

I know I’m lucky to be here, alive
And well enough to be soaking in
A celebration of human athleticism
Combined with live, crisp orchestral music
In the first place,
A packed house
On a warmer, clear winter Friday night.



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