the opposite of flying
I was having too much fun. Pride comes before a fall. Etcetera.
I worked so hard on exercises to make my lower back flexible for my backswing that my muscles seized up and one day I had no backswing. I was going backwards metaphorically with going backwards literally, physically.
Right at the end of the class I had one last try and I threw my body up high at the front of the swing, ready to give a good strong backswing on the swing back. That’s the last thing I remember until I was crumpling onto the mat, and that I remember in slow motion. I remember I had almost stopped moving, the fall had finished, and then I rolled onto my right shoulder. Very slowly and very heavily. I was wearing a belt with a harness so the teacher had pulled and slowed the fall. Apparently when my hands came off the bar – and the skin on my palms tore thickly – I somersaulted backwards in the air, which is a trick a long way ahead of where I am trick-wise.
If I could turn back time, I’d be less insistent with my vertebrae and let them develop flexibility a bit more gradually. Failing that, I’d concentrate on holding on during that last swing and not fall off. Failing that, I’d stop the slow motion crumple just before the heavy roll onto my right shoulder. Unfortunately, I can’t turn back time, which leaves me with an appointment card for a Shoulder Clinic and my husband putting my hair up in the morning. I didn’t know it was so hard to put people’s hair into scruffy little ponytails, even for an ex-Scout patrol leader with a Knots Badge who became a doctor who does minor surgery. It’s a little window into dependence, having people do things like that for you. My left arm is washing my hair, putting on t-shirts and cardigans while I make strange twisty shapes underneath, cooking, hoovering and so on, but it cannot do a ponytail on its own. And when you’re cross and used to having your hair up, it feels very important.
Much more important, though, is that it could be weeks – months? – before I can lift my arm above my head convincingly enough to get back on the platform. And then, in terms of strength, I will be starting not from the Square One my grandmother has always had so much disdain for, but from a path leading up to that square. But I won’t be grounded forever, I will fly again!