By Tom Healy
What do we do when we hate our bodies?
A good coat helps.
Some know how to pull off a hat.
And there are paints, lighting, knives, needles,
various kinds of resignation,
the laugh in the mirror, the lie
of saying it doesn’t matter.
There is also the company we keep:
surgeons and dermatologists,
faith healers and instruction-givers,
tailors of cashmere and skin
who send their bills for holding
our shame-red hands, raw
from the slipping rope,
the same hands with which we tremble
ever so slightly, holding novels in bed,
concentrating on the organization
of pain and joy
we say is another mirror,
a depth, a conjure in which we might meet
someone who says touch me.
~~~from What the Right Hand Knows. Copyright © 2009
I avoid mirrors. I haven't recognized the woman in my mirrors for a long time now. Pain makes you ugly, depressed, sad and sick. People hate sickly people. They run screaming if, when they politely say, "How are you?", and you answer truthfully, "I feel like shit, everything hurts and I haven't slept all night for many years now...How are you?" They trip over their feet to get the hell away from you. Few people have sincere empathy, which is to truly imagine yourself in the other person's place.
I'm grateful for the people in my life who've shown me empathy in spite of wanting to run. You know who you are. Bless you all & have a Thanksgiving filled with love, empathy and gratitude. xo, Marion