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We're hearing a lot in the news this week about body-shaming and that reminded me of a blog from my early days of blogging.

A Letter to my Hips

Recently you’ve been screaming in pain when I get out of the car, or hoist myself up from the sofa. I’ve tried everything to shut you up--ibuprophen, a chiropractor, acupuncture. I may have reminded you that nobody else complains--my back, neck, knees, hands and feet, shoulders--everybody’s doing fine. Now I’m working with a trainer to build up your strength and flexibility.

He said, “When you feel no pain, remember to be grateful.”

Now I think of all the miles we’ve walked together on city streets, often in high heels. That couldn’t have been fun for you. All the soccer games, the field hockey. We had so much fun with the Hula Hoop and the Twist.

Please forgive me. I’m sorry I said you were too wide. I should have thanked you for all those soft landings on the ski slopes Oh, and how could I forget; thank you for the easy delivery of two beautiful babies.

I look forward to many more years with you, and I promise to be kinder.

My hip trouble has made me think of this piece by Katy Lyness, my classmate at the Art Students League. The pencil drawing on the left is the preliminary sketch for the etching on the right. I love the way the two images face each other, echoing the way the rib cage and the pelvis face each other.

At the League, everything begins with drawing, drawing begins with the human figure, and that begins with the bones. In life class as you stare at the naked person in front of you, you realize that she’s not naked enough. You’re trying to see through skin and muscle to the bones.

Katy’s focus on the rib cage and the pelvis, as opposed to the skull, which always creeps me out, illustrates how supportive and protecting our bones are. The rib cage holds the lungs and heart, the pelvis cradles the belly and womb.

I find this so moving; these sheltering loving shapes are like a mother’s arms.

Who designed this miracle? And how long did that take?

I believe in God, which is my name for the creator of the universe, and I believe in Darwin and the theory of evolution.

Psalm 90 says, in verse 4, and we sing it all the time, “A thousand ages in thy sight are like an evening gone.” Seven days, a billion years. They’re both a blink of God’s eye.

All we have to do is remember to be grateful.

And speaking of being grateful, bravo to the New York Public Library for doing away with late fees.

Our beautiful Jefferson Market Branch stands next to a lovely garden, growing on the site of the late Women's House of Detention. One famous Villager said that when he was little he thought that was where you were sent if you didn't pay your late fees.

Thank you NYPL, for wiping the slate clean.

October 07, 2021

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