My identity was stolen. We define ourselves by what we do, and on the worst day of my life, I lost everything. In October 1986, the meningioma that was growing within my spinal column was finally diagnosed and removed. Before that, despite the movements that were increasingly disappearing from my repertoire, I had been a gym rat. Earlier in life, I had worked as a physical therapy aide, so I knew a lot about exercise and recovery. I could not wait for Monday when my own pt would start.

Genie Jennings

Genie Jennings

My whole life altered when I was instructed to walk along the barre that faced the exercise room full of people on stationary bikes. As the therapist described what she wanted me to do, I thought, ’Oh!  That’s a grapevine. I know how to do that; I am a Greek dancer!’  But, I couldn’t.  The next thought was, ‘I used to be a dancer.’ By the time I had reached the end of the excruciating trip, I had eliminated every conception of myself except ‘wife’ and ‘mother’ and those were things that I was in name only. My definition was ‘burden.’

I was lucky. It has always bothered me when people have told me I ‘deserved’ to get better because I worked so hard. Working hard does not do it. But, I did recover at least the 90% that the doctors said I might. And much, much more. I do not take my body for granted; nor do I think I have forever.

Therefore, I have spent the ensuing decades trying to be the best that I can be; knowing that my best may be far from the best others might be and that it does not matter.  My real competitor is me. I am becoming….genie, whoever she may be. As part of this journey, I am becoming…a skier (an instructor at Sunday River for over 20 years); …a fly fisherman; …a handgun shooter; a walker, a hiker, a yogi. My greatest strength is my refusal to accept reality.

My family used to call me ‘the knower of all things.’  Not quite, but I know a lot about many things, and I would love to share that knowledge with you.  My blog, Becoming…, will be divided into subjects the way I divided the last paragraph. Tightlines and Think Snow! genie