I shaved my legs this morning. It was a leap of faith. I truly believe I’m going out again someday. So I put on a dress and some lipstick just for practice. I don’t want to lose my social skills just because I’m in solitary confinement with my dog and some raggedy houseplants. I’m looking forward, imagining a July 4th barbeque with friends crowded around a table of homemade food, swilling pitchers of iced tea and eating fearlessly with our fingers. It might be 2021, but it’s definitely going to happen.
After I put my glasses on, I had to shave my legs again. Missed a few places. I wish I liked the hair on my legs, but I don’t. All winter long the mangy wires are hidden under long pants and socks. But spring is here and it’s warm enough to go outside flesh exposed. Of course, no one is looking at my legs but me, and you might say, who cares? And ordinarily I would be a little defensive and admit my ego is out of control. However, these days my ego is the dotted line between me and my sanity. I’m looking for things to care about in a world where the list of what really matters is getting shorter and shorter. My ego keeps me on the list. How I feel matters. Isolation is a slippery slope into self-deprecation, depression and dementia. I have an advanced degree in all three, and, well, frankly, I can’t afford the weight gain. The first thing that happens to me when I get depressed is I drink, which leads me to eating, which leads me to pizza and ice cream, which leads me to a midnight rendezvous with the leftover pizza and ice cream, or drinking maple syrup out of the bottle.
I was once so depressed that I ate an entire cheesecake by myself. I am 5’2” and I ballooned to a size 14 pants with a D-cup bra. My cheeks were made of mashed potatoes and my arms were Christmas hams. I can’t do that to myself again. It took too long to learn to eat right and lose my craving for gravy, because the problem with gravy is it tastes best with a pot roast, and when I eat that much meat in one sitting, I don’t shit for days. I went for a gynecological exam and the doctor was alarmed by the bricks of sediment in my abdomen. She sent me home with an enema kit and a little box of laxatives and warned me about the dangers of colon cancer. So you see, that’s why I shaved my legs today — to keep from getting colon cancer.
There are many ways to approach self-preservation, and each of us must choose our own path. For me, shaving my legs, wearing a dress, and putting on lipstick straightens my spine, squares my shoulders, and gives me the strength to lean into a day that is just like yesterday, and all the days last week. A blind leap of faith is what it is. There’s still the possibility that something fabulous is going to happen. I wake up every day believing that, and it gets me through the acres of time between when I place my order and when my pizza delivery finally arrives. Yes, I’ve completely rationalized it. I’m taking a day off from judging myself. This melted cheese is for my soul.