...I must be at JHU. Which means no posts till tonight, I'm afraid. Good for me, though, because it means I'm going to see my Hottie Hebrew Hematologist just in time for Thanksgiving (Thank you, Lord, for creating good-looking men, and smart doctors, and Jews. Thank you especially, Lord, for creating good-looking, smart Jewish doctors. A grateful nation of one thanks you).
As sick as this sounds, I actually like going to JHU. I mean, it would be fantastic if I wasn't going for weekly transfusions and all, but I still like going. I like the people. I like the peoplewatching. I was thinking last week how grateful I am that I'm finally at the stage of emotional development where I can see beauty in people who are not traditionally beautiful. I was walking down one hallway and saw a man who looked classically Eastern European/Baltic. He had a craggy face that told an underlying story of a hard life (whether accurate or not). He wasn't good-looking, but his face had a beauty to it that I'm glad I got to see. Only a few years ago I would either have not noticed him at all or would have pronounced him ugly, as if the whole world needs my opinion on the pulchritude of strangers. But something about his facial structure was beautiful, and I'm grateful I had the eyes to see it.
Maybe that's why I like going to JHU. Because it reminds me (although I could use the reminder on less than a weekly basis, mind you) that I'm fallible and imperfect and that life is brief, fleeting and something to be embraced and treasured. I honestly believe, as much of a b*tch as this will make me sound, that I would be a meaner, more selfish, more judgmental person if I hadn't been given this disease. There's something about having your own infirmity that makes you more understanding of infirmities in others, be they physical, emotional or mental. I try to picture what my life would be like without this disease and I can't do it. The truth is, I'd gladly trade my bone marrow for anyone's reading this post, because there is no sugarcoating the major suckage of my health situation. But would I trade the person I've become, the lessons I've learned about kindness and dignity and forgiveness of myself and others, to have this disease go away? Quite simply, No.
Everything that happens in our life, good and bad, makes us the person we are today. You could go back in time and change one or two things, but you'd return to the present as a different person. All of my baggage and history, good and bad, make me who I am; and I don't--for the first time in my life after many years of trying as so many of us do--want to be anyone but the person I am.
I wonder if maybe that is what I saw in that man's face the other day: not traditional physical beauty but an internal comfort and acceptance of all the life experience that his face was displaying; a regal sense of contentment with the canvas God the Artist gave him. And maybe--after all the creams, lotions, lasers, injections, and procedures have done all they can do to give you the illusion of beauty--comfort in your own skin, however that skin looks, is the definition of true beauty.