A ritual. What is that? Well, by definition, it can read like this:
ri-tu-al: A detailed method of procedure faithfully or regularly followed.
ri-tu-al: An automatic pattern of behavior in reaction to a specific situation.
Why do I bring this up? I have become very aware of a ritual I have developed over the past 4+ years, in relation to my dermatology visits.
Rituals can provide comfort in times of heightened anxiety. They can be calming. They may even offer up a sense of control in a situation where one feels powerless. Rituals have been said to be an effective "strategy" for dealing with things that are out of our control. OK, good to know! I love strategies....especially ones that are helpful in trying times.
It makes perfect sense then, that I have created what feels like a well developed science, crafted with care, that I use each and every time I go for my full-body skin checks.
Keep in mind, I do not delude myself with my ritual, in thinking this will have some magical sprinkling of a positive outcome on my visits. I don't. I know I am completely powerless over the results of each visit. But rather, I use this purely as a way to help myself navigate the landscape of uncertain times.
And so, here goes my pre-dermatology visit ritual...
Step 1- Pop out of bed before my alarm goes off. Sometimes, anxiety works even better than coffee.
Step 2- Grab a brand new razor and jump in the shower to do a most excellent shaving job, so as not to have a tiny hair follicle be mistaken for a mole.
Step 3- Before getting dressed, I reach for my handy black marker, fully inspect my body for moles that look "suspicious"...and circle them (at least 20, I can assure you). Yes, I look like the canvas of a Miro work of art (I wish).
Step 4- Dress in all black, a skirt or dress, no jeans. This step I have definitely fine-tuned over the years, learning from experience. Black is the only good option for blood. I once wore a white top and had a mole removed from my ear, and on the way home in the car, I felt something wet on my shoulder, and sure enough, it was blood dripping....ok, you get the point and my reasoning for all black. Oh, and jeans are just no good if you have bandages anywhere below the waist (guys...maybe an Irish kilt could work?).
Step 5- Breathe in, breathe out...knowing I am doing everything I can do (trying to listen to the sound of the breath, rather than the thoughts in my head!).
Step 6- Let go....and GO!
Oh, and here are a couple of the songs that will be blasting ( I like to BLAST!) in my car as I drive to my appointment...
And, of course, I have found a quote to support my cuckoo-ness....
"Ritual is necessary for us to know anything."
(Yep, that's the guy who wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. lol.)