supposed to die

I will never be coordinated and I have the bruises to prove it

bruise collage



























In high school, I was the klutziest girl imaginable. I bruised my knee on the pommel horse. In softball, I managed to swing the bat so that the softball ricocheted back into my own face. When we played round-robin tennis, I was beaten by everyone. Including a girl who had juvenile arthritis and could not even use one of her hands. Including Nancy I., a mainstreamed developmentally disabled girl who had never before beaten anyone in anything. She crowed about it in the halls for weeks afterward. "I beat April Henry! I beat April Henry."

In college, I kept spraining my ankle, one time so bad they casted it. (The cab driver who took me home valiantly offered to carry me up to my second floor apartment, a gesture I think he regretted by the landing.)

Once I started working full time I did exercise most every day, but since I had a job and a kid, it was mostly stuff like 30 minutes on an exercycle. I used to get depressed every fall as the days got shorter, because I knew I wouldn't be able to run before work for months and months.

Now that I work at home, I have the freedom to do whatever I want. I run five miles four times a week. I lift weights. I somehow accidentally got into kung fu and have fallen in love with it. Nothing lasts forever, which is why I take five to seven classes a week, including aspects I thought I would never participate in, like sparring and grappling (really never thought I would do that last one, which, when you're a woman, feels kind of rape-y). It turns out I bruise like a banana. I have fingerprint shaped marks all up and down my arms, and sometimes have to reassure people that yes, "I am safe at home." I pretty much always look bad, but this week, when I tripped on a rock and fell while running and I also had someone roll their knee over my elbow while grappling, I look particularly banged up.

I will never be coordinated. I will probably always flinch when someone tosses me a set of keys. But I'm pretty damn proud of myself for doing things I would never have dreamed of doing. 
Love this post, April. I find it terribly inspirational, even though the physical stuff you're doing isn't going to be in my repertoire. (Hate running, kung fu is too taxing with my RA and fibro.) But I do my tai chi and meditation, and I'm finding more and more that the old poster, "if you can dream it, you can do it", is true!
I think it's also the freedom to let go of old ideas. Or to embrace who you are and do it anyway!
Such a great post! I have arthritis and lupus, so I can't follow in your footsteps, but I love that you haven't let labels and perceptions and obstacles get in the way of something you really want to do.
Sometimes I feel like I am competing in my own Special Olympics where I get a prize just for doing it - but damn it! I deserve that medal!
I used to take Kenpo Karate with my daughters. I always seemed to have bruises then. One time, my youngest (who was about 13) totally kicked me to the ground and gave me the biggest bruise I've ever gotten from karate. And she loved that she was in a forum where it was okay to try to punch and kick your mother. Karate was fun. I miss it. Love seeing your occasional pics of sparring.
I live in fear of the day when something is going to make it when I can't do it. Like when I fell, my first thought - after "I think I just broke my hand" was "Is this when it ends?"