19 JunMasks

Before people become what they do, they put the mask on, the costume… they play dress up. I find it very interesting to watch people in the process of becoming — it doesn’t happen very often. When it does, I feel as though I’ve been let in on a very personal secret. I treasure these moments.

My ND/midwives are teachers at a large, well known school around here, and as such, part of their practice includes the option for students to come be supervised in their midwivery practice. I like contributing to these women’s professional growth. I’ve liked all the women I’ve had learn with me too, they’ve all been very respectful of my personhood — which is not something I can say outside the alternative medical community.

Yesterday I was introduced to one of the current apprentices. She reminded me of an old friend. I said I would be fine allowing her to do my exam & she did a very good job of it. When she began the exam, her demeanor changed — she went from being almost invisible in the background to very professional, very clinical, analytical, without losing her gentleness and warmth of character. Her eyebrows lifted, & mouth set slightly in concentration.

The professional mask slipped momentarily in confusion when she wasn’t sure whether to give my glasses back to me or place them out of the way after the eye exam. I had placed them next to me on the table & it was time to change position. Once we had negotiated that unsure territory, she adjusted and moved on. She drew my blood first try — which is unusual as typically my veins roll & twist away from a needle like so many snakes trying to avoid being driven through with a nail.

After the exam, on our way out, I passed her in the hall. All traces of the mask were gone and she flashed me the sweetest, shyest smile.

  • Maia

    Nice work, Susan! I really liked this piece!