We were standing in front of the mirror at The Gym and Trainer D suddenly asked, Did you ever do gymnastics?
Badly…but yes, I replied.
Pourquoi? Why was he asking me this – is he clairvoyant?
No, apparently I still retain some of the movement patterns associated with a gymnastics background (even a slight one, and even post-AVM/stroke). Trainer D, you see, was formerly a gymnast as well as a soccer player, in addition to some other stuff I can’t remember. So he’s probably been reading the signs for a while now but the idea suddenly solidified and he chose that moment to ask.
Side note: I’ve asked him to spot me sometime while I try a cartwheel and he didn’t say “no.” The next time I mentioned it he indicated that he’s game. M(37) has informed me that if anything acrobatic occurs a picture will not suffice. She will need to be there in person to witness the spectacle.
I never thought I’d “work” in an industry where your physique is constantly appraised, but I do. M(37) would give me little gait-check corrections when I thought we were just walking somewhere and she wasn’t really paying attention. CMD, in addition to being able to spot deficiencies in my movement a mile away, will try to catch me unawares so she can study the balance of my laugh-driven smile or the focus of my eyes.
A long time ago I asked M(37), M, the first time you saw me did you notice the wide stance right away?
She didn’t really answer – she just started giggling. It was impossible to take offense at that kind of response – it was spontaneous and good-natured mirth.
I’ll take that as a ‘yes.’
I am surrounded by trained eyes intent on scrutinizing everything I do. It’s both funny to me and alarming since this is a very foreign world. I never had to think about my physicality in my Old Life since it was a non-issue. I was deemed to be healthy and fit, there were no barriers to my lifestyle, and my profession required mostly brainpower and the ability to carry your laptop under your arm while you walked between buildings on campus.
Now I’m actually a lot more self-conscious because of the vast changes my body has seen since this started, and the notion that I am indeed being watched by several sets of beady eyes. Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad they’re watching. I retain their professional services precisely to watch, and correct as they see fit.
But these people are a specific subset of the population concerned with mobility whereas the general public looks at one’s overall appearance. My mentality is rooted in the general public’s perspective and things like the scar on my neck and the deficits that mark my person irk me.
I thought I left this kind of concern behind when I exited the “awkward” teenage years, but they came back…with a vengeance. I am comforted when I remember the first person to ever (besides Mommy) to tell me “You’re beautiful” – it was during those awkward years, and it was CEF’s mom – we were standing in the chapel’s kitchen and she made this random comment. She probably has no recollection of this, but it was a formative moment for me that I still return to in my mind. Take note – when raising girls to be women, a word of affirmation like this goes a long way.
So now it has been pointed out to me that the way I move points to the nature of my past. Beyond physicality, I want this to be true of how I operate in general. It should point to my history of faith…but I also want it to be dynamic and directed to future growth. I am aware now more than ever that someone’s always watching.
PS. Thank you for your kind messages over the past few days. xoxoxo