I’ve given birth four times. The first and third child were delivered without an epidural.
But for the second and fourth, I was wonderfully drugged. Even so, no delivery is without consequences, other than the obvious “bringing a new life into the world”. (A baby is a good consequence!) So after I had my second child I started having serious neck pain. It got so bad that my head was constantly shaking, trembling. I went to a doctor who sent me to a physical therapist.
Apparently, I injured my neck during delivery, most likely while pushing, as I don’t remember doing any back flips. The physical therapist talked to me a while about the anatomy and physiology of the neck, my body type (some big word that means “long”, as in long neck, long fingers, etc., etc). And then he had me wait for him in the weight room. He disappeared for a while and I stood there not knowing what to do with myself. What with all these long arms and long legs everywhere.
So I did what I do, I shrunk as best I could.
After a bit he reappeared and had some strong words for me. He said he had been watching me from the window and that my posture is horrible. He didn’t say horrible, but I can’t remember the exact word he used. I do, however, remember what he said after that. “You are tall, dammit, be tall!” Then he went on again about what happens to my neck when I slump and how all the wrong muscles are doing what I’m not letting the right muscles do, and that I will have chronic neck pain if I don’t straighten up dammit.
I’ve thought a lot about what he said.
Literally, yeah, he’s right, I was a slumper. I slumped in school, at movie theaters, in church. “Don’t see me!” was my body language, along with, “I hope I’m not blocking your view.”
I’ve figured out that if people behind me can’t see, they can move. I try not to sit in front of children or petite people, but if they sit behind me, that’s their choice. I am tall. I have to be tall.
And it goes deeper. I am here, on the planet, taking up space and breathing air. I have likes and dislikes that I didn’t choose, they are part of my make-up. And I have a height I didn’t choose. Deal with it, humanity.
It ties in with an earlier thought from a previous post about letting others feel the weight of me. I need to claim the space I require to live as I should – the space required to create, to connect, to worship, to help and be helped. My space. I have to claim it and protect it.
Nineteen years after the physical therapist told me to be tall, I still have to remind myself. There are times when have to force myself to be seen, upright, head high. So please, if you see me slumping, feel free to swear at me like that physical therapist did. Or just poke me in the ribs if you’d rather. I’d do the same for you if you asked. 🙂
And by the way, I’d be happy to reach that thing on the top shelf.