next to normal

Ten years ago today, I was in a car accident that resulted in, in the words of one of my doctors, an impressive “constellation of injuries.” That same doctor predicted that once I graduated from the wheelchair, I would still have limited mobility, chronic pain, more surgeries, more pain… 

So I took up yoga in fierce pursuit of normal—“normal” being the range of motion I had had in my feet, ankles and legs before the accident. And yes, I’ve probably regained a hairs-breadth or so of movement with every passing year. But here’s what’s really cool: in the absence of full control of the feet, I’ve learned to strengthen other muscles that keep me upright when standing. When the ankles just won’t give in a seated pose, the hips have opened instead. And not too long ago, I figured out that normal isn’t something one pursues with ferocity. My norm is defined by the body I wake up in each day, by my genetic material and my experience (with a little influence from the barometric pressure). Sure, my gait would be different today if my legs hadn’t been smashed and screwed back together 10 years ago. But a decade on planet Earth is going to do a number on the human body no matter what. And when I consider where my body—my self—might be today if the accident hadn’t led me to yoga, I’m content with today’s norm.

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2 Comments on “next to normal”

  1. lisa Says:

    Ten years ago, today? Wow.

    My partner’s spinal cord injury happened four years ago, yesterday. I think that we should rename this part of the calendar “be extra careful, please” week.

  2. Nathan Says:

    I am So glad you are still with us, Kelley, and in such wonderful shape! I can’t wait for you to show me some of your yoga moves!


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