Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The view from here.
Sometimes small things happen to us that unexpectedly shake up our perception of the world around us. It happened to me the other day, and I still can't shake the feeling of being shaken.
I am about to start my first healthcare related job. It's been two full months since I was hired, and I am getting a bit anxious to get started. I was called in for a physical that included several things, including being fitted for a space suit that would protect me in the event of some sort of bioterrorism attack, but that was not the perspective changing moment of the physical by any means. (though, just in case I ever pass out from a biochemical weapon and can't inform you and my HR chart is not handy, I need a size small mask and white spaceman helmet. You know. Just in case.)
The astounding part of the physical came not from the color blind test (I passed. That wasn't hard to self-diagnose.) ...or from the vision test, which, oddly enough, I had to cheat on a bit, cause I can't tolerate less than perfect or almost perfect, and it seems my right eye is a little sluggish these days on the 20-20 line...but it came from the height and weight portion of my assesment. Seriously.
Now, anyone who knows me very well at all knows that I have an accurate assesment of my weight at any given moment. I can pretty much calculate the weight of my clothing and the combined sum and difference of the number of times I visited the ladies room and the number of diet cokes yet consumed, at least until lunch. All this, based on my first thing in the morning daily weigh-in, within a half of a pound. You know you are jealous of that mad skill, huh?
So, I had purposefully worn lightweight linen and no chunky jewelry, knowing a physical usually entails standing on those horrifying doctor's scales that look not unlike a turn of the century torture device. I was not in any way shocked by the number the nurse called out. I was kinda proud it was exactly (well, within the requisite half-pound cushion) what I predicted. Then the question came.
N: How tall are you?
K: Five seven and a half. Or maybe five eight. I'm not really sure.
N: Well, why don't we measure you and see?
(Now is when you should pay attention.)
N: Um, honey, not quite.
N: You are five six. And barely a half.
K: That can't be right. I've been at least five-seven since high school.
N: I can measure you again.
I stood up straight. I stretched. I imagined that thread from the top of my head suspending me from the ceiling, you know, the one the yoga instructors tell you to imagine?
N: Five six. And barely 1/2.
K: I think that thing is broken. Look at it. It's all disconnected and floppy looking and...
N: It's not broken. It's supposed to be like that.
K: BARELY 1/2?
N: Not even close to 3/4.
K: Do you know how this is going to impact my BMI?!!? I always say five-EIGHT on those things!
N: How tall is your mom?
K: Five feet. Just barely.
N: Her mother?
K: She was four ten.
N: Girl, you oughtta be glad you are five-six.
K: AND A HALF!
It was a good thing that the nurse had a sense of humor. She was also, as all good nurses should be, packed full of empathy. She asked me when was the last time I was actually measured. It was then that I realized I probably had never, ever been measured in my adult life. I just thought I was five seven and a half, maybe five eight if I really streched, and had accepted that as fact. The fact is, I am either:
1. Already shrinking.
2. Incredibly good at believing what it is I want to believe instead of what is true.
I know, from past experience and a carefully posed question at my doctor's office two days later, that it is most likely number 2.
You know, I'm not a liar. At least not to other people. I'm actually known as a straight shooter who tends to point out what other people don't necessarily want to accept as fact, no matter how boldly that fact is staring them in the face. Many of my friends (the real ones) appreciate this about me. But it seems to me that I am pretty proficient at lying to myself. Looking back on it, I have a long history of telling myself what I want to hear, and ignoring all signs and indications to the contrary. If I'm ever in one of those Barbara Walters interviews, now I know what I can say is my principle character flaw. Of course, I suppose I could just tell myself that refusing to bow down to the truth has kept me from being resigned and limited. That telling myself what I want to hear has kept me persevering until what I wanted something to be becomes what I envisioned in the first place. I know for a fact this has happened.
However, there are times when what is, simply...is. And no amount of spin or justification or rationalization or wanting it to be different can make it any other way. Sometimes we have to listen to that still, quiet voice that is telling the truth.
So, the view from five-feet-six-and-a-half-inches turns out not to be a different as I thought it would be, now that I have wrapped my mind around it. No amount of stretching will make me 5'-7''. Ever. It simply is what it is...and better to deal with it than go on pretending.
But...don't expect to run into me wearing flat shoes.
Posted by The Gumdrop Tree at 11:21 AM