Friday, August 12, 2011

Cupcakes, Kidneys, and Tattoos

It's been a while. I've been looking for my voice. You see, since starting Roller Skating with Rickets over a year ago, I've found that it has become a vacuum of sorts - sucking up my creativity, my voice, my soul. This is something completely unintended and a little sad. As it is nearing completion, though, I'm looking forward to redirecting my attention to other creative outlets, including Plucked Dandelions.

I've been enjoying my last couple weeks of summer. Wayne and I finally ventured into Kara's Cupcakes on Main Street. What greeted us was something lovely.

This cupcake, though - a raspberry filled chocolate variety - is a reminder to me that what glitters is not always gold. It enticed me from its place underneath the class, and I found myself on the customer side of the cash register, eagerly peeling dollar bills away from the large wad of cash (I kid, I kid) I was carrying in my equally enticing pink retro wallet. All the while, a quiet voice in the back of my head whispered, "But you don't like sweets!" And indeed, I don't. I used to, until I had what I like to call "The Metolazone Incident" about three years ago, when I overdosed on a drug simply by following the instructions given to me by my doctor. But that's a story for another time. (Better yet, you can reserve a copy of Roller Skating with Rickets and read it there!)

I took a few bites of my cupcake. I could appreciate that it was a delicious cupcake, a beautiful cupcake - but quickly recognized that my money would have been better spent elsewhere. Once again, I was lured in by a pretty thing, only to find that its beauty fell flat.

I'm finding more and more that we can't let the world define beauty for us. (Really? It took me 30 years to accept that old adage, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?") Try as I might, I'm not the lovely cupcake under the glass. I'm a diamond in the rough, with so much ugliness (I'm not speaking about the physical here) that needs to be chipped away at and transformed. I am selfish and greedy; judgmental and proud.

I take a lot of time to ponder that selfishness this time of year. When I received a kidney transplant 12 years ago, someone else unknowingly sacrificed his life for mine. While I don't think that my taking of his kidney was selfish by any means, I do sometimes think about how I fail to appreciate others and the price they pay for my own happiness. I want to never take anything for granted.

I didn't want to celebrate August 12, but I wanted to remember it. Somewhere out there, a family grieves every year on this date for the loss of their son. They don't know me, but I hope they realize that people live on because of their decision. I decided to commemorate my donor's life with a tattoo right over my transplanted kidney.

I'm still seeking out loveliness. But unlike pretty cupcakes under glass, the kind of beauty I want to embrace is permanent, internal, selfless. The kind of beauty epitomized by my donor family.