“Look straight up; don”t move; hold that pose. Great! Great! Ok, bring your left leg up, the other one straight down. Fabulous! You ARE a natural!”
“Switch to your right side now; bring your right arm all the way up as if you were flying, just like that, just like that. Hold that pose. Don’t even breathe. That was pure perfection!!!!”
“Let’s do the exact same routine, but this time lying on your back, and bringing your chin up away from your chest. I want to focus on your unique profile and capture your amazing essence.”
I often fantasized about being a model as a young girl growing up. As I look straight up at the lighted ceiling in the mostly darkened room following the photographer’s directions, I feel exhilarated, like a swan slowly gliding on water one moment, then a robot with jerky movements the next, positioning my body to the whim and direction of the award-winning icon guiding my every move.
I say to myself, “WOW! I’m sure this is exactly how young skinny models today must feel when given the chance to dance in front of the camera expressing their unique body artistry, commanding their flexible physique, and demonstrating artistic flair in front of a renowned photographer”. The lyrics to Madonna’s hit song VOGUE . . . “strike the pose. . . strike the pose . . . VOGUE – VOGUE – VOGUE” are flowing through my head. A feeling of great satisfaction envelops me. By the way, the photographer is British, and every word that comes out of his mouth sounds so, de-light-ful it makes me want to work harder as his protégé.
Years ago I would buy magazines like BAZAAR, VOGUE, and SEVENTEEN, where supermodels like, Naomi Campbell, Beverly Johnson, Iman, and Cindy Crawford would “strut their stuff”. Right now, I feel like one of them. I am imitating their body movements, facial expressions, and blank look in their eyes as I stare wherever the photographer directs my gaze.
Strangely, though, there is something peculiar about this entire scenario I just described. I stop . . . smile . . . and say to myself, I MUST write about this.
In reality, I am at Griffin Hospital Radiology. The room is dimmed and my gaze directed upwards. The photographer is Nantis, a real-life Radiographer which I’m sure is famous in her own right, and no doubt went to an Ivy League school because she was hired by Griffin Hospital - a premier hospital in the Fairfield/New Haven County area. She was friendly, knowledgeable, gentle and very kind.
A few weeks ago I lost my balance on two separate occasions only days apart. On the first instant, I tumbled down 8 concrete steps in a very s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n style cadence, a dance-like choreography of sorts, while watering my flowers at the entrance of my townhouse apartment. I wished someone could have videotaped me because it felt so elegant and graceful. No worries, I did not seriously hurt any body parts, and only sustained a few scratches on both upper and lower extremities.
The second incident happened as I reached for something in the pantry while standing on a stool. This time I banged my left hip hard and bruised my right arm pretty badly. I covered all bruises and scratches so no one would be alarmed and asked what happened. I acted as if nothing had occurred on both instances, and continued with my house chores, my work schedule, and my very busy life.
When I found myself limping a few weeks later, I knew I had to call my doctor. And , . . I now find myself at Griffin Radiology (as the star of an amusingly embellished, photo shoot, I’ve concocted) with the renowned Radiographer, herself a graduate of a prestigious school in New England, who, no doubt, underwent a rigorous training program and internship, all thanks to my wild and very vivid imagination.
As she instructs me to move this way, turn that way, be still, or slightly shift, then change positions - all while I stare at the ceiling in what seems like an x-ray session that will never end, I honestly feel as though I am the protagonist in a photo shoot, and she the renowned “iconic” photographer directing all my moves. At this point, as I mentioned earlier, I knew I had a story to tell.
So, whether a Ra - di - o - gra - PHER, or a Pho – to - gra - PHER, they are both now, two very uniquely Re - la – ta - ble words in my vocabulary since my Griffin Hospital Radiology visit and my dramatic falls. One seeking to look inside the body to help other artists like doctors, surgeons, and physical/occupational therapists, diagnose and treat disease. The other, looking intently for expressions of beauty and meaning; observing and studying the outer shell while focusing on the eyes, cheeks, brows, facial contour, profiles, and silhouettes of various kinds, through his wide-angle looking glass, attempting to define the human spirit, physique and experience.
I am no longer 15 or 25, browsing through BAZAAR, VOGUE OR SEVENTEEN. I am not 35, 45, or 55. What I know for sure, as Oprah would say, is that my body is NOT what it used to be, and this year - 2019 - has made that VERY clear to me.
From now on, I WILL absolutely make sure I move more consciously, being peripherally more aware of my surroundings. I WILL absolutely, NOT wear heels while watering my flowers after coming home from work. Going forward, I WILL definitely make sure that when using a stool to make myself taller, I consider the fact that my 33 less cushioned spinal vertebrae continue shrinking and therefore may affect my overall sense of balance, and I vow to measure more precisely where I position the darn stool.
But the biggest and more serious lesson I’ve learned, is making sure I search for those who can inspire me to move my body in ways that can strengthen my core every day, build more muscle to sustain my bones, and challenge my own flexibility. As a Healthy Living professional, and advocate, I believe I have my work cut out in this area for many months and years to come.