Today I started and ended my day with two very real, normal, female rituals. Both, in their own way, beneficial. While seemingly disparate by comparison, looking back I’m struck by some interesting and unexpected similarities.
As I got dressed this morning in easy to change clothes, I purposefully avoided putting on my deodorant and instead tossed it in my purse for later application. I took some Advil before heading out the door to my appointment. I walked into the Radiology and Imaging office at exactly 8:10, my assigned time, where the receptionist was friendly and efficient. The waiting room is purposefully welcoming and calm, the Today Show playing at a comfortable volume on a big screen on one end, a bubbling tank of colorful fish against the other wall. I had barely sat down to start checking my emails on my phone when I was called in and directed into the small closet. Inside is only a chair, a small mirror, a couple of hooks on the wall, two or three magazines on a side table, and a basket of pink nail files, free for the taking. I dutifully undressed waist up only and slipped on the one-size-fits-all mumu top.
Moments later the friendly strawberry blonde Technician brought me into the imaging room. She was approximately my age, easy to talk to, and had all my information ready to review. We chatted about the weather, about mutual doctors we knew, and how our mornings were going so far. She efficiently got me into position for my girls to be compressed, two ways each. I joked with her that there was really no need for her to tell me to hold my breath, as she would steal it anyway. I watched as she quickly and easily did what she needed to do, thankful for her speed and skill, and braced myself for those couple extra turns of the plate to flatten my girls into xray submission.
It was all done quickly, she gave me the usual explanation that the images would be reviewed, and if there were any concerns I’d receive a call; if no concerns, I’d receive the usual form letter. Soon I was back in the closet getting changed, adding my deodorant this time, and headed out the door to go to work. I was bit sore, but glad to have accomplished my annual ritual.
After leaving work and running a quick errand, I walked into the Salon at 6:10, a few minutes late for my assigned time. The environment was hustling and noisy, music playing, customers and staff talking. The décor is a funky black and white, built for style and efficiency with chairs and mirrors and a few hooks on the walls. A few magazines were on the side tables. Nail files with the salon name are available for the taking. I had barely sat down to start checking my emails on my phone when I saw my stylist come around the corner and she directed me to the chair by the sink. She wrapped me in a towel and one-size-fits-all poncho and started in with the most wonderful part of this regular experience, the hair wash and head massage. The Stylist is a friendly strawberry blonde, a bit younger than me, and easy to talk to. As I got settled in for my cut, we chatted about the weather, about mutual people we knew, and how our days had gone so far. She asked me how much I wanted trimmed, then quickly and efficiently did what she needed to do. I was thankful for her speed and skill and watched as her scissors flew, then as she styled and primped. It was all done quickly and I was soon headed out the door to go home. I was a bit tired, but glad to have been able to fit in this much-needed ritual.
I came home, changed into comfy clothes, got a bite to eat and took my vitamins. I felt productive having taken the time today, around a full day of work, to take care of myself in these simple ways. That’s the funny thing about our R.W. rituals. We routinely feel that we don’t have time to fit them in, yet we somehow manage to do so because we know how important they are. Luckily, there are other R.W.’s out there who help us through them. And when we are done, we end up feeling pretty good about ourselves.