Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 3 - A letter of apology. To my knees.

My dearest knees,

I love you. I know it doesn’t seem like it right now, but I do.

You have dutifully bent my legs at the middle for over three decades, now. You have endured a childhood in which I spent more time on my bike than off, an adolescence full of horseback riding, and an adulthood that has (thus far) included a college campus made entirely of hills, two pregnancies, and an inflammatory autoimmune condition. You have been slammed, scraped, kicked by horses, swollen and waddled upon, and attacked from within by crazed antibodies. And yet, not once have you shirked your task. Not even back in ‘97 when that half-drunk frat boy hit you with his Toyota Supra and gave one of you a bone bruise and the other umpteen stitches. My knees, you are troopers.

Horse stance must have seemed like quite the betrayal.

After all you’ve done for me, here I am asking you to support my not inconsiderable weight while bending at heretofore unimagined angles. And not just briefly, but for long minutes at a time, until your ligaments groan under the strain and it’s almost a relief when I start forcing you to awkwardly hobble across the floor in a shuffling movement that could only, at this stage of my training, be very charitably called a “crab step”. Horse stance has been deeply unpleasant for you, and for that I apologize.

It’s my fault, you see. I was doing it wrong.

My toes were pointed forward, which left you canted inward, bearing the full brunt of my forward-tipped hips with no support from the lower legs. Literally all of the pressure was on you, my stalwart knees. You had no assistance from the feet gripping the floor, no counterbalance in the angle of the shins, no even distribution of my weight in the space between tailbone and heels, you and toes, rather than on the joints themselves. 

How you endured weeks of this without packing up your patellas and leaving me to a lifetime of skipping certain lyrics when I sing with my kids, I’ll never know.

Simo caught the problem at our last training session. In that gently matter-of-fact way that I’m starting to suspect may be the hallmark of all good instructors, she told me to turn my toes inward. I wouldn’t think such a little thing would make all the difference in the world, but I’m sure you can agree, sweet knees, that it has made all the difference in the world. Also, she hooked us up with these:

kungfuslippers (2).jpg
(the shoes, not the cat hair)

What these shoes lack in hella cuteness, they more than make up in usefulness. Which is like being cute, but better. See, up to this point I’d been training in sneakers. The feet got to lounge in cushy comfort while you knees did all the heavy lifting. But now? Now the feet can actually feel the floor. They can spread the toes to grip and balance and provide better support for you and every other bit of me. There is actual balance, now. Suddenly, we have a chance for stability and a growing awareness of where tension is and is not being held.

These are some magical freakin’ shoes.

And so, my darling knees, with our Cinderella kung fu slippers and some improved technique, I promise you it’ll all get better. We will get stronger, you and I, and soon horse stance will no longer be a thing of wobbly torment, but our go-to place for strength. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a letter of apology to write to my feet. They’ve never had to grip a floor before, and they’re kind of freaking out about it.

Peace, love, and buckets of cayenne salve,

- Stefannie

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I'm interested in getting those shoes. Do you know where your teacher got them from?


Thank you so much.