Spasticity often controls my movement. It feels like a grab, a pulling, a tightness, a resistance to stretch. The faster I try to move the more intense the resistance. It produces a jerky and rigid like movement. There is often pain associated with this resistance as my muscles pull tendons in ways they were not prepared for. As my muscles attempt to elongate to its desired length there is a sudden and abrupt stop. My muscles must start again and soon they are stopped again by spasticity.
You see my spasticity. My uncoordinated tangled mess of a walk. You see me trip forward as I drag my foot. You see me drop my hip down in attempt to advance my leg forward. By the look on your face I can hear all the questions you have in your head. You want to ask what is wrong with me but you do not know how to without offending me. This makes me nervous, self-conscious, makes me ask myself what is wrong with me. Before I even realize it I have began to dwell on this thought and my gait starts to deteriorate. The spasticity increases when I become nervous or embarrassed because part of the intentional thought I was putting into controlling my body has now been directed to felling this emotion. Now that I feel this my spasticity only gets worse and a cycle begins of me worrying about the way I am walking and your perception of me and just by thinking of this it only continues to make matters worse.
Then I remember what I am here to do. I am here to run. So I begin and as I begin my body screams at me telling me it cannot complete this action. It is rigid and uncooperative. The spasticity is at its height, resisting each and every movement. Nevertheless, I am gentle with my body. I tell it that it can do this, it just needs time. I allow my body to throw it’s tantrum as I go from walking to running. Little by little I fall into the rhythm of my pace. My body begins to see that it can run. I begin to feel like I have more control. I can feel my body giving in with each step making way for more freedom of movement as I go.
Then I arrive at the place where I feel my best. I feel free to move. I feel confident in my movement. I am able to push body, not in a resistance to stretch, but a challenge in improving myself. In this moment I find my reason to run. I run to find that little bit of freedom. During this time if I stop to walk I have complete control of my movement. I can feel the rigidity of my left side give away to match the freedom and control I have in my right side. In this moment I own my movement not spasticity.
As I finish the run and begin to walk I see you again. This time I am confident in my movement. I know exactly what my body is doing. Instead of fearing what you might be thinking I am hoping that you have the courage to ask. I am hoping that you ask me why I run this way so that I can tell you I run to find this freedom. I know this freedom is brief and soon the spasticity will take control again. Even so, I know the path to freedom and will come back to it on the next run.
If you see me out there ask me why run this way, I would love to share this experience with you.
Join me on my journey at: achilles-international