Kira Lugo

musings, music, & epiphanies…oh my!

The Epiphanies

e·piph·a·ny – noun, plural-nies. – a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.

Love Your Legs!

There is always something about ourselves we wish we could change, right? Some physical impediment we were born with that we can’t remedy with a quick fix like make up or with a lot of money like plastic surgery. Mine was always my feet. I have really long toes that most people laugh at, so I have always wanted prettier, daintier feet.

My legs on the other hand were one of my prouder features because they were long and in pretty good shape. I used to wear miniskirts and leggings…never feeling self-conscious. But with age and children – at least in MY family – varicose and spider veins are a given, and I started to notice that my legs were looking more and more like my grandmother’s. After three kids, I began to see them as ugly, veiny, pale appendages. I stopped putting lotion on them, stopped wearing shorts and skirts that went above the knee (I was glad when long peasant skirts came back in style a few summers ago ;-)) Oh hell, I might as well be honest; I stopped shaving so often too! I stopped taking care of my legs because I couldn’t stand to look at them. I even apologized to my obstetrician for their appearance. “Sorry if my legs are blinding you…I know they are pale and gross to look at.” Of course he said, “I’ve seen it all so believe me they aren’t as bad as you think they are.” I didn’t believe him.

While I was in labor with my fourth son, Noah, the nurse must have squeezed my leg too hard, cutting off the blood flow in a surface vein just above my left knee, because I developed a superficial blood clot (there IS a technical name for it that escapes me at this moment). At first I was told by several nurses who looked at this growing red lump that it was a spider bite. HOW a spider got on my leg and bit me while I was pushing a baby out was beyond me, but that’s what I was told.

It wasn’t until the day I was going home, and the lump was creating a pathway of inflammation up my thigh that someone paid attention. I was a bawling mess from the baby blues (which I get every time I deliver) but I also was crying because this thing on my leg was freaking me out! It was the pediatrician who came in to discharge Noah and one of my obstetricians who actually took the time to look at it and diagnose it properly. The prospect of having a “blood clot” scared me; I figured that meant I was dying. They assured me I would not die most likely, and after instructions and a prescription for antibiotics “just in case it’s infected,” told me I could take my baby home. I felt better for a nano-second.

I got in the shower before leaving the hospital, since warm compresses several times a day help alleviate the discomfort and swelling of these veiny annoyances. As I sat with a washcloth draped over my leg, letting the warm water do its thing, I cried … and cried … and cried some more. I was being very hard on my legs and my body in general. I had just had a baby and all I could see were the flaws of my body rather than be grateful for the miracle my body had just performed.

Within days of coming home, my “annoyance” seemed to be getting worse. The swelling and redness had traveled up my thigh and spread out about three inches in all directions. I googled my condition and, while most of it was exactly what the doctors told me in the hospital, the only words my hormonal addled brain could see were “could be life threatening” – and I began to cry. Again. My mom happened to walk in the room at that moment and of course asked what was wrong. “I can’t leave them behind!” I sobbed. “Leave who behind?” she asked. “The boys! I can’t leave them! This thing is getting worse and I’m reading how it can be life threatening if it moves up your leg toward your groin…AND IT IS! I just had a baby dammit! I can’t leave him!” My mother gently rubbed my shoulders and back to help calm me down. Then she asked, “Do you really feel in your heart of hearts that is what is going to happen?” I thought for a moment and then said, “No.”

My mother always has a way of asking just the right question to bring me back to the moment and to dig deeper to find out what’s really going on. It was a “get real” moment…what was I really afraid of?

The last four months of my pregnancy had been extremely stressful. My husband had lost his job, then a few months later had a car accident. The emotional and financial stress was almost too much to handle at times. I had to remain strong. I had to hold it together for my family’s sake when I thought my knees would buckle under the weight of it all. My fear of not being around anymore was more about my fear for them than myself. What would they do without me? Part of me wants to call myself narcissistic but I think all moms feel this way about their families.

“I know you have a little life in you yet, I know you have a lot of strength left…” – – This Woman’s Work, Kate Bush

The other fear I realized I had was of losing myself…that the dreams I had for my life would never materialize because I am a mom first and foremost. These four boys need me so how will I have time to work on the different writing projects that I have put on the back burner? What if I left this world without ever accomplishing what I came here to do?

After the conversation with my mom, I called my family doctor and spoke to her about my leg. She was very reassuring and felt I would be okay, but it was important that I continue to elevate my leg and do the warm compresses. I scheduled an appointment to see her that following Monday. My mom told me to go take a shower, as it would give me a chance to relax and clear my head….

As the water fell over me, washing away my tears and stress, I looked at my legs for a long time. I felt all the things I had been feeling for the past few years: ugly, gross, abnormally pale. I was also wondering why this happened to my leg…why now? Just then, like in a cartoon, the invisible light bulb turned on above my head…

 

My epiphany: I had stopped loving my legs and now they were hurting. They were trying to tell me something. “Pay attention to us! We are important and we do a lot for you! We may look different but we still carry you through life!”

I know it sounds silly but think about it…when we think negatively or ignore certain parts of our body, we can affect our health adversely. If we ignore our teeth, for example, they rot. If we ignore our muscles by not exercising, they atrophy and lose strength. If we are emotional eaters we can gain weight…and so on and so on!

I witnessed the direct evidence of mind/body connection with my shower epiphany. As I stood there in the shower with this realization, I felt a moment of guilt for how I had been treating myself – but didn’t stay there. I began talking to my legs, apologizing for not being appreciative for all they have done for me. Within seconds the energy in me shifted and I felt lighter and happier.

I shared my experience with my mom afterwards and she could see the change in my whole being from before I went to take my shower. We marveled at the power of such moments and joked that this would make a great story to write about. The most amazing thing was that within 24 hours of my shower epiphany, my leg, which had been getting worse, was healed!

This wasn’t my first shower epiphany and has not been my last, but it was probably the most significant. I created an affirmation for myself Stuart Smalley-style, so that whenever I feel like I’m slipping back into the old way of thinking about my body I can use positive reinforcement instead. I faced my fear of losing myself to my role of mother as well as my fear of finding myself through being the writer I was meant to be. It wasn’t my legs, my kids, or the challenges we were faced with holding me back; it was ME!

This blog is another step in the journey set in motion by that aha moment in the shower. Because I have some dreams to fulfill … I believe in the power of epiphanies … and I want the world to know: I love my legs!

And I’m starting to really like my toes. 🙂

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2 responses to “The Epiphanies

  1. jannirose joy says:

    …what a blessing this heartfelt sharing is to everywoman who has ever forgotten what a miracle she is living. i’m glad you are loving the you that you are! i’m jannirose (down here in yellow springs, and your mom’s new friend). your writing will bring a much needed gift to those who are drawn to find you. spirit will touch hearts through the courageous baring of your soul. the world craves such healing in this time of great awakening–those of us who can are asked to extend a hand to our brothers and sisters. all the best to you, dear daughter of my new friend! by the way, what’s your name?? bye for now–love from jannirose joy of the yellow springs (c;*

  2. Auntie says:

    You are beautiful inside and out…
    from the moment you were born, I loved your unique appendages and envisioned the ballerina waiting to emerge. And she did…not on the stage…but you have danced through life with grace and poise.
    Love you,
    Auntie

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