Thursday, May 27, 2010


Half awake...lying in bed this morning...still dark outside...drowsily moving and stretching as I became more awake...

My hand was on my hip. It pleased me to notice that my muscles are more firm as I've exercised more.

Then I realized that what I was feeling wasn't muscle; it was bone. The outer flare of my pelvis. I've seen my pelvis illustrated in pictures many times, but I had never truly visualized that picture-pelvis as me before. Suddenly, I wasn't sleepy any more.
It jolted me, to think that me is not what I see in the mirror. That's one way to think of me, but what what am I really?

I step out of the shower and see myself in the mirror across the bathroom. Twenty square feet of skin, and of course I'm noticing the places I wish were smaller, or less affected by gravity. I can certainly visualize clumps of fat clinging around my belly (I still remember the fat deposits from dissecting a cat in advanced biology 40 years ago), and I like noticing the way my calf muscles are firmer as I move my leg, and I frequently try to convince myself the the flabby places under my arms ("bat wings"--ha ha) are smaller now than they used to be.

Skin, muscle, fat: I know I'm made of those.

I've always been aware of  some bones. Feet, toes, ankles, knees, fingers, wrists, elbows...these are bones that are difficult to ignore. I broke a small bone in my foot 18 years ago, and I've been conscious of the bones in my feet ever since then. In some vague, general, intellectual way, I know I have bones. I take calcium every day because I don't want to have osteoporosis.

But a skeleton? Me? My mind flashed to those images from archeological digs, the skeletons embedded in ancient graves, and I suddenly realized that there was a skeleton lying right there, in my bed, inside of me!

I have no idea why I was so shocked by that thought. It woke me right up.

Maybe I'm getting old.

Maybe I'm thinking about Nina, my friend. (I went back yesterday afternoon to check in on her, and learned that she had died Saturday night, just a few hours after I visited her.)

Maybe I'm processing some of the ideas in a book I'm reading, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, where he talks about different ways to view a motorcycle. You can see it as the thing in front of you, shiny curved metal, tires, etc. Or you can see it as a series of interrelated systems, hierarchies, that function together to create a whole.

Now that I've been awake for an hour or so, my mind is beginning to adjust to this thought. I'd like to pay more attention to my skeleton, get to know her better. When I move or sit or lie in bed, I'd like to remember...and be grateful for...the most inside, intimate part of me. It's not that I have a skeleton. I get that. I am a skeleton. That's a new thought for me.


Saskia said...

Hi there,
Kia from Green Chicken 31, I have found your blog inspirational (I can't wait to make that fabric ball!) and I'm giving you the Versatile Blog Award. Check it out if you want at

Lisa Lou said...

There's a TV show that I really like (although I don't necessarily recommend it, it can be graphic and not PG...) It's called "Bones" and it's about a forensic anthropologist. She deals with horrific murders and tries to figure out who the victims are from their skeletal remains. It's based on the life of a true-life anthropologist and it's fascinating what you can learn from bones. The human body is AMAZING!

Sarah said...

Good post. I love reading what you have to sorta makes me feel dumb for getting hung up on such tiny trivial things in my life. Haha!
You write what you think in a way that makes me addicted to reading your posts. I check all day long! I love it and i love reflecting on what you've said. I'll be thinking about skeletons all night now. Haha :)

Katie Lewis said...

I sure have been thinking about my skeleton these past few days!