different versions of normal


Original image here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenica26/2108744379/in/photostream/

I paused in the double door arch between the kitchen and living room. “I had an annoying stiffness in my left thigh when we started our walk. I just walked through it, figuring it’d loosen up. It did.” I folded into a forward bend, trying to get a pull on my hamstring. “Except now it’s really tight.”

“She says as she puts her hands flat on the floor,” Justin observed.

Well, yeah. But we all know that’s my joints, not my muscles. That’s my hips extending in ways other peoples’ don’t, my spine curving more easily than anyone else’s, my knees allowing straightness where muscles would pull my legs into an angle. The ease with which I can put my hands flat on the floor actually makes it harder to stretch — the joints open right up, and so I can’t get to the muscle to stretch it. Move my arm across my chest, and I don’t feel a pull in my shoulder muscles until you’re pulling it dangerously far — the joint stretches first. Fold forward, and my hands go flat on the floor before my hamstrings ever feel a pull. Super stretchy joints do that to you.

I’m in less pain that I was at this time last year. I’m stronger, and have more muscle endurance, than I ever have before. I can do more pushups, squats, leg lifts, and lunges than I ever have in my life. I can walk today’s four miles and be hot and tired at the end, but always energized, too. I can lift, and carry, and walk… and bend.

Trust me, I can bend.

My hamstring’s still tight, though. And that’s my normal. I struggle with muscle tension in ways that aren’t normal for other people. That’s just a different kind of normal. One where my hands always reach flat on the floor. Now, to figure out how to get at my hamstring…


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