So I went for a mammogram today. It was strange. It was scheduled at the hospital where I was born and during the drive there I drove by my first school. There was the park where I played as a child and the street I use to sled down when it snowed. Thank goodness it was a perfectly routine procedure but it was the stroll down nostalgia lane that weighed on my mind.
The reality of growing older sometimes blindsides me. I can put as many colors as I can imagine in my hair, but I can’t change my age. Along with the twinge of reality, comes relief. Maybe physically it’s time for me to take better care of myself, but mentally I feel like I’m almost there. There are still residual doubts and lack of self confidence, but for the most part I grew up to be self assured and practical. I am what I yam, blah blah.
It took a lot of trial and error. I didn’t exactly have a blueprint in my dysfunctional parents. Yes, I no longer speak to them, but it’s a decision that should have been made years ago. I no longer regress to the mess I was in their presence, especially my mother. I no longer feel the need to seek their approval, only to find it’s still unattainable. Instead, I concentrate on my own daughter who is tripping through life and I’m there to brush her off and put her back on the path. I want to give her the support, I lacked growing up.
This doesn’t mean as I drove by my past that it’s all bad memories. I can allow the good ones to the forefront and not feel the need to reach out to my parents again. It wasn’t all bad. But the what was is no longer allowed in my life. I’m not one of those people who believe you can blame everything on your childhood. At some point, you have to take responsibility for the decisions you make. Especially ones that implode your life.
I never demanded more, because I never realized there was more. I’m old enough to know it’s okay to want what you never had. It changed the chemistry of my brain and my heart. What I want is completely different in my mammogram stage of life than in my carefree stage of life. So, even though I’m at a stage to be medically poked and prodded, I feel as if my mind is finally healed. Even if there are whole days of regression.
I realized the important lesson I’ve learned at this age is that it’s okay to deserve more. It’s okay to want better. It’s okay to reach out in the dark and find someone who is just as scarred. It’s okay to reveal the soft underbelly of your soul and chance rejection. It’s about seizing the happiness, the joy and yes, the love with full knowledge it could hurt along the way.
I thought of these things as I had my mammogram. For all you ladies who have not experienced it yet, it’s not that bad. Sure, being fondled by a stranger may put you off (or maybe not), but it’s rather clinical and over quickly. There is absolutely no pain, despite having your breasts in a vice. You walk away and think it was less evasive than most tests we have to endure. I’ll know my results in seven to ten days. The thoughts swirling in my mind will surely last much longer.