Since getting my cast off on October 24th, I've been dragging my ass. I've been mopey and dopey instead of celebrating the fact that I'm actually recovering from what was a difficult accident for me and my family. I've done the work: taken the meds, worked the gym, talked to the lawyers, confronted the machine that is the Insurance Industry. I've been my own best cheerleader yet I find that I'm cranky and blue, generally getting in the way of my own ordinary happiness.
I did what I would normally do when I find myself in another such foul mood, I went for a walk. This time I walked in my local library while E was happily absorbed in a pile of Clifford books. The floor of the library is carpeted which cushions the impact for my left leg and ankle. I couldn't help but notice that since I've been wearing that god awful 'old lady' support stocking, the pain in my foot has greatly diminished, and bearing weight in my castless leg wasn't half bad, really. So, taking a deep breath I shuffled along keeping my grunts to a minimum so as not to disturb my fellow readers at the library. After a while, I became aware of the rhythm of my own footsteps, moving one crutch and one foot forward slowly and simultaneously, first the left, then and the right, left and right and so on.
And then, in midstep it dawned on me. I hate moving slowly. I hate it. When I move one leg after another with way bipeds do, my navigation feels self-concious and utterly, interminably slow, as if I'll never get to where I want to go. Walking like a biped, I feel CRIPPLED in the worst sense, deflecting the sypathetic glances of well meaning bipeds. I huff and puff and inch along. Fact is, since my accident, my legs have been too weak to carry the weight of my tried and tru swing-thru walk. That is, I move two crutches forward at the same time and swing both my legs forward in a kind of hopping mini pole vaulting move. It's my walk. It's my CRIP walk. It's the way I cover twice as much ground in half the time. It's the walk that compels stranger bipeds to tell me to slow down. It's the walk that makes my mother sigh and my physical therapist cringe. It looks crooked and dangerous but it works for me When I walk like the quadruped that I am I feel autonomous and strong and in control of my body. Walking like a biped makes me feel like I trying to measure up to a standard that doesn't make sense. I am NOT one of crowd. I like my loud, happy, hear- it- for- miles gallop.
There I was on the top floor of the library and I thought what the hell, let me give it a try. It hasn't happened in a long time but maybe today will be different. I readied my crutches and moved them forward. I tranferred my weight and what do you know, my legs swung! No big deal, no huge struggle, no wobble or fall or 'oh no' moment. Before I knew it I was relaying around the circumference of the library giggling like a kid in a playground. Yay! I'm a Quadruped! I AM a Quadruped! I motored over to E, laughing, gasping, feeling younger than I have in years.
"Hi E!" I waved a crutch at him talking louder than I should've but what the hell.
"Hi Mommy," he said calmly. "I'm reading about Clifford the Big Red Dog," he said.
"That's good, Boo." E went back to his book. And I spun around to give my legs another chance to swing.