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The Old Lady in My Bones

Arthritis Barbie?

Aviary Photo_130538060576979716My bright green dress sported a delicate lace bodice with dainty layers of material cascading below the waistline – had the dress been white, it might bear a slight resemblance to that infamous dress worn by Marilyn Monroe as she stood over that gusty street grate in New York. The summer had been kind, delivering balmy temperatures and blue skies that rivalled the South Seas. I was thrilled to ditch my jeans and long sleeves for the feminine flirty summer dresses that adorned beachfronts and patios. On one particular morning I was feeling pretty good and looking forward to showing off my newly acquired item from my summer wardrobe. My hair was lifted of my neck in a high ponytail, my face fashionably covered by big sunglasses, my lips painted with a rose-coloured hue, and my short stature slightly elevated with the help of some copper wedged sandals. I swept into the office like Scarlett O Hara and was enthusiastically greeted by one of my co-workers who blurted out “Wow, you look like Barbie”.

It was a flattering compliment. I returned home, relaying the amusing story to my better half, who, with a mischievous grin, immediately pronounced, “Arthritis Barbie”. After a bit of thought I realized they were not too far off the mark…there were days I felt like those synthetic dolls, lifeless and frozen. I had fond memories of playing with them in my childhood, plastic models of chastity, their heads crowned with long flowing hair that framed a picture of contentment on their frozen face. They were always fashionably attired, and had a variety of clothes from which to choose. It was the plastic toy that stimulated the imagination of millions of little girls. We styled and brushed her hair (some of us even cut it, not realizing it won’t grow back), we shaped and cast them in theatrical dramas, emulating the things we saw on television or the actions of our mothers, aunts, sisters and grandmothers. Their arms and knees were constructed of malleable plastic to bend their elbows and knees; when I think back now, I believe they had more flexibility than I do in the morning. They were given identities with different personalities – some were actresses, some were singers, but not once did I ever associate their graceful bodies with the painstaking bumbling movements of arthritis.

I wonder how that advertising campaign would go: Arthritis Barbie, coming soon to a Rheumatologist near you. Nope, I’m not convinced…it’s just not in her genetic make-up.

 

 

About J.G. Chayko

I am a writer living on the beautiful West Coast in Vancouver B.C. I am a poet at heart but also write prose, fiction and creative non-fiction. In my thirties, while working for a Rheumatology clinic, I was diagnosed with early Rheumatoid Arthritis. I created " The Old Lady In My Bones" to share my experience living with this disease and to create an awareness that arthritis touches people of all ages, not just the elderly.

Discussion

8 thoughts on “Arthritis Barbie?

  1. LOL~ love this! Some stiff days,I visualize The Tin Man but will now think Arthritis Barbie! Well written.

    Posted by Lynne | August 31, 2014, 9:35 pm
  2. Wonderful post. Given the weight I’ve recently put on thanks to prednisone, I’m more of an Arthritis Cabbage Patch Doll!

    Posted by Carla Kienast | September 1, 2014, 8:47 am
    • Thanks Carla, I had some fun (maybe a bit too much? 🙂 writing this one. Love your reference to a Cabbage Patch Doll 🙂 I hope you can taper that prednisone soon and get back to looking more like your beautiful self. Stay well.

      Posted by J.G. Chayko | September 1, 2014, 10:00 am
  3. You look absolutely stunning J.G. 🙂

    Posted by Kev | September 6, 2014, 10:40 am
  4. I hadn’t thought about myself as arthritis Barbie, like Lynne, I’d mostly thought of myself as the tin man, but Barbie is way hotter 😛 I too can’t completely stretch out my elbows, and sometimes have a hard time bending my knees… Thanks for this post! Puts my limitations in a whole new light 😉

    Posted by anafau84 | September 7, 2014, 7:18 am
    • It’s nice to know we can compare our infirmities to something pretty and graceful… makes me feel better to think of myself as a beautiful object rather than a tin man. Thanks for stopping by. Stay well and keep up the fight.

      Posted by J.G. Chayko | September 7, 2014, 8:31 pm

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