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My Parkinson's Journey

In which Terri shares a humorous look at her journey with Parkinson's disease and Dystonia:

For me, illness and health are not opposites but exist together. Everyone has something that is challenging to them. Mine just simply has a recognizable name. My life will take a different path because of this but that's okay. Everyone has changes in their lives that create their path.  I'm learning how to enjoy whatever path I'm on.

Twisted Body Logic

Terri Reinhart

It's almost academy award night again and the celebs are preparing for the race. In their pit crew are skin specialists, make-up artists, hair dressers, personal trainers, wardrobe consultants, and sometimes even cosmetic surgeons. They're photo-shopped even before they're photographed. I'd consider boycotting the awards, but I don't watch them anyway.

At my 40th high school reunion, one former classmate was very nervous. She pointed out to me her newly dyed hair, which had gotten the whole spa treatment earlier that day. She wanted to come looking good. More than good. She didn't say it, but I knew she had been voted the "Most Attractive" in our senior year. 

When I was in business school in 1976, the psychology teacher taught us some rather disturbing lessons. She said it was the responsibility of the wife to maintain her body in such a way that she will be attractive to her husband, but it would be foolish for women to expect said husband to be faithful.

Where's a good feminist when I need one?   ...Oh, that's right. She's in the other room doing homework.

My daughter is a millennial feminist. I'm a 70's feminist. We've come a long way with women's rights, but we still have a long ways to go. The difference between the 70's feminists and my daughter's generation is when we were sexually harassed by a boss at work, we fought to be taken seriously and not lose our jobs. The millennial feminist would get the boss fired. We talked about how warped society's portrayal of women and beauty was, but we often bought into it anyway. Millennial feminists are slowly changing our whole idea of what is beautiful.

Obviously, they couldn't be doing this without the work we, and the women before us, put in. It's paying off. There are now models who are bigger than a size 0. There are even models with disabilities that aren't hidden or even minimized, but celebrated. Young men and women are making things like designer prostheses for people who are missing a limb, and lingerie ostomy bags. They are telling us over and over: There are so many ways to be beautiful! They're not just talking about being a beautiful ...person, either. They're talking beautiful...period.

This is good news for those of us who grew up with all the other messages. It's even better news for those of us who are dealing with odd neurological stuff that makes us twist, shake, trip, spill, and walk into walls. We generally know we are beautiful people. We just get tired of feeling klutzy and unattractive. And tired of hearing those things that are meant to make us feel better. You know, we're beautiful if we see ourselves as beautiful - to be beautiful is to be yourself - beauty isn't about having a pretty face. This is when I love my feminist daughter who would counter with your face is beautiful, just the way it is. She also reminds me to dance when I'm having trouble walking.

I told her she must be raising me right, because one day I realized I was starting to believe her words more than the messages our society has been giving us about beauty for many years.