I was born with long, muscular, shapely legs.

Trust me when I say that I don’t normally go around showing off about my physical attributes. Yet, I know this fact to be true. I have been complimented numerous times, and my teen daughter is totes jealous of my visually pleasing gams.

The other day, I was rubbing them down with Icy Hot. I felt the familiar curves and sinews, and noticed how pale they were now. I stay out of the sun for the most part, because some of my meds can cause me to be photosensitive. One thing I don’t want to deal with on top of everything else I contend with is a nasty sunburn. I would just rather haunt my house like Casper.

Save me a seat in the shade, my ghost friend.
Save me a seat in the shade, my ghost friend.

My once pain-free legs have served me well over the years. I’ve walked thousands of miles, climbed steep steps, bent down with ease, and when I was a child, skipped footloose and fancy free. I used them when I swung on a swing, pumping them back and forth, going up as high as gravity could take me.

They look almost the same. My muscles are starting to become less defined due to lack of exercise. I do leg lifts to the best of my ability, as my doctor recommends. It kills me, but I do it on a daily basis.

I make myself walk when necessary, even though they hurt. Each evening, I rub them down in order to break loose the knots a bit. They twitch and shudder, and my ankles are now slightly puffy.

I have Restless Leg Syndrome, too. This makes bedtime ever so pleasant.

I have a bad ankle from an old sprain, and both of my knees can swell up like a balloon for no damn reason.

I find myself staring at them intently, as if the heat of my gaze could somehow cure them. I grit my teeth and kick them up as high as I can, but all they end up doing is shaking, because there is minimal strength behind them now.

That’s me on the end, back in the day.

I’m not trying to gain sympathy. It is what it is. But my need to address such a vast change in my once favorite body part is detrimental to the acceptance process.

I feel as though I am continuously haunted by the woman I once was.

Just like my old legs, I too was sturdy and independent.