One of my favorite movies is Castaway. The plot of "man vs. himself" intrigues me and, although I have never been stranded on a deserted island, I find that I can relate to the isolation and the survival mentality. In my opinion, one of the best scenes in the movie involves Tom Hanks talking about hope for a better day by saying something like, "You never know what the tide is going to bring in that day."
Lately, I've been feeling that same optimism every time I open my email. Although my inbox is typically jammed with offers for cheap flowers, credit card applications and assorted male enhancement products (I still don't know how I got on that list), every once in awhile I receive a message that turns my reality upside down- at least momentarily. I suppose I'm an eternal optimist who is always up for a new adventure. Last Friday I received one message that left me speechless!
I was invited to participate in a Public Service campaign to promote Limb Loss Awareness Month. I was floored and humbled that I was asked to represent all amputees in such a public venue! When I learned that the ad will be playing on a loop on the Jumbotron in New York City's Time Square for the month of April, my enthusiasm quickly morphed into terror. After all, they don't make a Spanx strong enough to make my bum look good on that enormous billboard.
Saturday I went to the salon to get my hair colored, highlighted and cut. I am my toughest critic, but I must admit that I like the results. I think the new do resembles that of a "hip trendy Mom" instead of the drained and exhausted woman who doesn't have the time nor the energy to care about investing in a beauty routine. It's amazing what a few bottles of hair dye, an afternoon away from my husband and child, a glass of wine (or two) and a massage can do towards rejuvenation!
Sunday I spent four hours shopping with my Mom trying to find "the perfect" outfit. Together we scoured the outlet mall, determined to find the "trendy Mom" outfit that would accentuate my attributes and minimize my bum. We were unsuccessful, but managed to have a good time in our attempt.
Monday, Robby and I headed to the mall to continue the quest for the perfect outfit. My 5 year old stylist walked into the first store and immediately walked to a mannequin who was dressed in my ideal outfit- a bust flattering sweater shirt in a shade of blue that makes my eyes pop and a flattering knee length black skirt that minimizes my bottom. I was delighted to pay only $45 for the ensemble before taking him to celebrate with a scoop of Play D'oh ice cream.
Leaving the ice cream store I passed an eyebrow threading kiosk. I've seen this on television and, although I have never had it done, I quickly decided to give it a try. After all, I want to look as attractive as possible.
I took my seat in the salon chair, leaned back and prepared to become beautiful. The "eye brow designer" took a piece of thread and proceeded to pluck and shape my brows. I instantly knew that whoever thought that pulling eyebrow hair strand by strand by using string must have been a sadist. My brows were swollen, bleeding and well shaped by the end of the torture...err.. I mean threading. A few dabs of witch hazel, two Tylenol and ice compresses finally took away the inflammation and blood droplets, revealing my beautifully, albeit slightly over arched, shaped brows.
With my wardrobe picked, my hair coiffed and my facial hair removed and styled, all that was left to do yesterday was to relax and prepare for the adventure of the photo shoot. Unfortunately resting has never been a strong point of mine. I decided that, if my smile was going to be streaming to millions of people, I needed it to be brightened. I drove to Wal-Mart and carefully chose a teeth whitening kit promising to "whiten teeth three shades in an hour."
The box failed to mention the stinging and burning sensation that would be felt for the entire time the pre-filled trays were in my mouth. To my delight, my teeth were indeed whiter and brighter after 60 minutes. To my horror, so were my gums! I looked like a surprised zombie with a white teeth and gums, streaked hair and over arched eyebrows.
A quick Google search revealed that teeth whitening kits often bleach the gums as well. Thankfully the tissue returned to a healthy pink after a few hours, but not before I lost all composure. I still can't feel the tip of my tongue or drink cold liquids, but I don't need either of those skills tomorrow so I'll fret about those side effects later.
This morning Robby and I will drive for our photo and video shoot. I'm excited about this wonderful opportunity. I want to stand tall and show everybody that we are confident, happy, normal people who contribute to society despite missing a limb. I have certainly gone to a considerable lengths in my attempt to look casual, and I am going to do my best to represent our community in a positive light. Wish me luck because this is important and I want to make you all proud!