Monday, 13 August 2018



This will be interesting.

It was meant to be a post showing off my new Action Dress™ and ends up being a post that explains why I have been out of action for the last six days.

It wasn't supposed to be *that* kind of action. Sigh....

OK, the first question I kept getting is What in the world is an Action Dress™?

Well, I am glad you asked. Let's just begin with the history of me, shall we?

I have always preferred dresses. I like the freedom of movement they give you. They are cooler in sweltering summers and look great with tights and boots in the depths of winter.

As a child I liked wearing them but only if I wore shorts underneath so boys couldn't see my panties as I flipped on the monkey bars.

Even then I was an aspiring Action Grrrl.

When Spiderman and I spent three months as exchange students in 1990 on the LC/MC programme, I packed three long skirts (a black, a tan and a blue floral) lots of heavy sweaters and coordinating long john bottoms to wear under my dresses for warmth(oatmeal, red and bright blue).  I wore my skirts with either ankle boots or Converse high tops.

It may have not been fashionable, but it was comfortable.

These days as Quaker embracing the Testimony of Simplicity and rejecting sweatshop made clothes that make me spend too long obsessing on my appearance, I opt for a comfortable solid coloured dress with a practical apron in a lovely patterned fabric on top. The apron helps keep my clothes clean and has 2 massive pockets to keep all my bits and bobs (hankies, lip balm, prayer beads, asthma inhaler etc. the important stuff.) Plus I sewed them all myself.

I like these clothes. They suit me. I wear them with trainers (tennis shoes for my American peeps) and I get along just fine. I can wear these dresses anywhere.

Indeed I have. I have worn them to weddings, to funerals, to the theatre, on hikes up a mountain.

Normally, hiking doesn't matter. I just hoick it up slightly  if I need to go uphill. But last month we did a hike to a spectacularly waterfall and i had a little trouble crossing the river walking like an awkward crab over the wet uneven stones. I had a vision of me falling and tearing my thin fabric dress and it got me thinking.

What I needed was an Action Dress™. A dress made of heavy duty fabric. A dress that didn't matter if it got muddy.  A dress for action.

But why not just buy a pair of jeans like a normal person? my mother asked.

Clearly she doesn't know me at all.

Have you not paid attention for the last 48 years????

I hate jeans. All my life I tried to like jeans because jeans were cool and I just hated them. Every pair of jeans I have ever owned felt like they are slicing me in two and giving my vagina a wedgie. (Just try to get *that* image out of your head..mwa ha ha!) These days, since the Horrible Hysterectomy jeans (or any trousers with a zip in front) make my scar hurt like Voldemort is near.

That's why.

I decided I wanted to make an Action Dress™ out of some heavy retro curtain fabric my friend Susie gave me when she cleaned out her loft before she moved away. I wanted to make it like dungarees (overalls to my American peeps) at the top with side slits so no hoicking would be needed for uphill. I could wear action leggings underneath like I wear for exercise to provide a little modesty.

But mainly I wanted to look like someone out of Bananarama.

I am an 80's girl at heart.

So I made a spectacular dress for running, jumping, climbing mountains.

Then I met a lovely vegan named Nicky who offered to take some action shots of me in the dress.

Here is where the INCIDENT happened.

BI (Before Incident) Nicky and I had a delicious meal at The Warren and then toddled over to the park. We were having a good time. I was laughing and messing about on the exercise equipment.

I am pretending to be chased by a T-Rex here.

I am pretending to be Atlas holding up the world here.

Here I am a weathered old salt of a sea captain driving his boat. I love how my hair is spiked up by the wind to look like I am a parrot. It fits with the who sea captain/pirate motif.

I notice I am pulling faces in every picture. I am sure i didn't communicate any of this inner monologue about who my character was with Nicky. She must have wondered what in the world I was doing.

Then Nicky suggested  something.
Her: Why don't we go to the stone circle and have you jump off?
(her inner monologue:  that will make a great action shot.)
Me: Yeah! Let's do it! That will be awesome.
(my inner monologue: Yeah! That sounds fun. I'll make sure to leap really high and wave and pump my arms as i jump off this here shoulder-high rock that is wet from when it rained earlier and land on this grassy slope. What could possibly go wrong?)
(what SHOULD have been my inner monologue: Oh hell no. What are you thinking? You have a bad back? What if you fall? What if you land funny? Do NOT do this!!!)

First, let me say I have done many stupid things in my life. Too many to count. But this--of all the dumbass things I have ever done--ranks in the top ten. Possibly top five.

OK, who am I kidding? Top two.

I gleefully, like a small child, ran up the steps and did an epic leap complete with what was meant to be air guitar and then crashed HARD on the wet  grass right on my coccyx. The impact was so astonishingly painful that I could do nothing but pant and cry.

And swear. I said the F word about a dozen times. I am not proud of this. But it really hurt like f*ck.
Image result for broken coccyx
The impact would have definitely been enough to shatter my coccyx and snap it completely off of my sacrum (see illustration above) had I not already had the pleasure of doing that in 1998 running down our highly polished wooden floors in my sock feet to quickly grab a drink between the commercial break of Law and Order.

So I suppose, lucky for me, it was already broken. Because for the last twenty years i have had chronic back pain and trouble sitting. I KNEW better than to leap off of some high object because LEAPING always results in LANDING and usually that mean landing BADLY.

But, in the excitement of the moment I felt like a kid again and I was having fun and I forgot for a few crucial moments that I have a weak, middle aged body with a broken coccyx.

AI (After Incident) a horrified Nicky (who I think in her wildest dreams never imagined things could go quite so pear shaped) helped me walk home while I sobbed and dry heaved and tried to reassure her I would be fine.

I got upstairs (oh yes...we live in a first floor flat which has 1.5 flights of stairs) and took some codeine and put some ice on my back and cried my little heart out over my stupidity.

My friend Laura (also in the broken coccyx club) bought me some topical pain relief creams like Ibuprofen Gel and left them downstairs for Spiderman to bring up when he got home from work.

It has taken me three days to type this as it involves sitting and my back currently doesn't like sitting.

But someday again it will. I will always have chronic pain. You can't have a broken coccyx without it. But it will get better. I have good days and bad days. This has been a couple of bad days, but after a few months they will be good days again.

But in the future I will resign my actions in my Action Dress™ to running, jumping climbing mountains.

Or maybe just walking. Or standing still. Sigh....


  1. The first picture at the top, if I didn't know better, looks a whole lot like your mother.

  2. Go tell Aunt Rhody
    Go tell Aunt Rhody
    Go tell Aunt Rhody
    The old gray goose is dead

    This is one of your best written entries ever.

    And I wasn't thinking of regular jeans, just baggy stretch jeans. Very loose and comfy. But then I am a dork, so what can I say? The upside of my remark was it made for a funny part of this "essay."

  3. Oh, you poor honey! I, too, have visions in my head of what I can do. Unfortunately, those visions sometimes lead me into error. As I've aged, I've begun to think things like...have I turned my last cartwheel? If so, is this a great sadness or a small one? Life! Heal well, sweet woman. Great piece. Yes, funny mom, Becky!(We all are at one time or another. Michael draws much hilarity from our conversations.)