From fourth grade until graduation I attended a Christian school. When I was in junior high I took a communications class with a rather dynamic teacher and a total of four students including me. That’s where I memorized the prologue to The Canterbury Tales, which I can still recite. I may have even kept some notes from that class and tucked them away in my old closet. (I spent a lot of time there, I should have a better grasp on what’s inside.) I mean, I learned a lot in that class–I enjoyed it.
That being said.
My teacher was also a preacher, and one day–I honestly don’t remember how it all came to pass–he sat me down in a chair and prayed over my legs because he said one of them was longer than the other. I mean, it was an ordeal that would have made Oral Roberts proud–he spoke with authority, rebuked the devil, and uttered plenty of Amens and Yes-Lords. He even anointed me with olive oil, which apparently he kept in a small vial on a chain hung round his neck–I’m assuming for spur-of-the-moment miraculous leg stretchings.
I’m just gonna say it–IT DIDN’T FUCKING WORK.
Here we are twenty years later, and I apparently still have a leg that’s shorter. (It’s only a problem if you want to walk in a straight line.) Since the leg bone’s connected to the hip bone, I’ve spent my last two chiropractor appointments trying to get a decent answer as to why one of my hips is higher than the other. Well, apparently, like many a relationship status on Facebook–it’s complicated. It seems there are a lot of contributing factors. You know, it’s hard to say. But my guy did tell me today that although my left leg isn’t “anatomically shorter” than my right, it is “structurally shorter.” (If that makes sense to you, congratulations.) He said it’s within the “normal limits,” meaning it’s a quarter of an inch shorter.
Then he said that he didn’t really think I needed a heel lift (a shoe insert), that it would probably make my back hurt worse (yippee), but we could try one and see what happens. So he handed me this rubber shim thing (see photo above) and told me to stick it in my left Reebok.
Why thank you–don’t mind if I do.
So for the rest of the day, I basically got taller on one side. I kept wondering if someone would notice. (I don’t think they did.) And it was okay, but it took some getting used to. I guess it was like wearing a thong–sort of uncomfortable but sort of fun because no one else can see it. Still YOU KNOW it’s there–you can FEEL it with every step. Anyway, when I look at them in the mirror, my hips are more level than they were before. Not perfect, of course (nothing is ever perfect, except Dolly Parton), but better.
This evening just before I got ready to go for a run, I felt some muscles talking in my lower back that don’t usually talk. (I’ve always assumed they were the strong, silent type.) Oh crap, I thought, the chiropractor was right. The heel lift made things worse. Then I thought, Dial down the drama, Nancy. So I got out the foam roller–my new best friend–and proceeded to work my back, butt, and leg muscles.
I swear, sometimes life is a lot of damn work. (My mom actually said, “Marc, you work so hard,” to which I replied, “Oh my gosh, I work my ass off” because that’s what it feels like sometimes.)
So get this. The run tonight was probably the best I’ve ever had. I went to the track and ran 6.5 miles non-stop, and it felt great. A few pains here and there, but they worked themselves out. What’s more, my playlist tonight was “by the universe,” meaning I picked one song I liked and let my player pick the rest based on the genre (80s, give or take several years). Well, it was perfect. Just as the big ole moon was coming out from behind the clouds, Abba’s Dancing Queen came on. I thought, I’m actually RUNNING at the moment. But right after that was Whitney Houston’s I Want to Run to You. (That’s better.) Then a couple songs and a couple laps went by, and it was time for the final lap, and just as I picked up the pace, Kenny Loggins’ Footloose came on!
Been workin’–so hard.
Well played, universe, well played. Oh, and the heel lift/footloose connection was clever. Good job.
When I got home I did the foam roller thing again and then went through a litany of new exercises the chiropractor gave me to help get my shoulders and neck in the right spot and hopefully alleviate the pain in my mid-back. And then–AND THEN–I did a yoga stretch called plow, in which you lie on your back and take your legs straight back over your head until you’re basically folded on top of yourself. It’s super sexy and usually really uncomfortable. I’ve been trying it for over a week, but it’s been rough. But tonight, my body went directly there.
Footloose–back loose! Maybe I should use this picture for my next online dating profile.
Currently that spot in my mid-back does not feel awesome, I’m starting to get just a touch of a headache, and certain muscles in my legs are like, “What the hell just happened?” So despite my enthusiasm and optimism about the heel lift and my running half of a half-marathon tonight, I realize there’s a distinct possibility that I may not be able to walk tomorrow. Still I plan to keep working hard–go to the chiropractor, use my foam roller, do my stretches. Before I go to bed, I may even pray, anoint myself with peppermint oil–or just swallow a muscle relaxer–whatever it takes. One day–surely–something will work.
Quotes from CoCo
"There’s a power that comes when you meet life’s challenges head-on. Those are the times you breathe the deepest. Those are the times the waters come forth and your heart beats every bit as loud as the thunder claps. Those are the times you know more than ever—no matter what happens next—in this moment, you’re alive."