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A muscle in my shoulder twitched before it went numb and then the dreaded pins-and-needles phase began. I wouldn’t move my thumping limb; however, as I felt that the barrier it provided from the rest of the world was more important than, oh, being pain-free. Ironic it would be the same shoulder crushed in an unfortunate and near fatal horse riding accident. Some nights I still wake up, now thirty years later, and I’m laying on my back with my lifeless thumping arm in the same traction position. Throwing the covers off from sweating, I’m just thankful it wasn’t a dream where I’m trapped beneath Scorpio’s hooves battling for my life.

Lately I’ve listened to this shoulder, yoga practice will do that to you, make friends with your body… and your fears. I’ve started giving more credit to my arm, allowing myself to try asanas, or poses, that I thought were impossible for me. The old reel playing in my head. The ancient whispers from the other room. My mother telling someone that my arm wasn’t going to grow and I’d never use it the same way again. She’s fragile, you know. Even after I consciously started to give my left side 50% (or more) of the work, I still made adjustments out of pure habit. My brain hardwired to protect feeling injured again.

I can almost hear the muscle slowly tearing away from the bone as I snuggle a little tighter around my daughter’s skinny frame, her eyes transfixed on Jazz.

“Tell me if it’s too much, Sweetheart,” my heart couldn’t read her thoughts from her calm eyes, but tense lips, “We can always come back to it at another time.”

“I’ll let you know Mom,” her gaze never left the image on the screen, and it dawned on me that this might be the first child she’d ever encountered saying out loud to everyone, “Hey, I’m transgender. I feel good about myself. I’m happy.” Most of her gender diverse friends don’t communicate like that, at all. This was revolutionary.

About half way through the show those deep eyes of an old soul looked up and me and gently said they needed a break. This signal I could read this loud and clear. Lost in the moment I couldn’t figure out exactly why I wasn’t able to press pause. That is until I glanced down at my newly freed arm as listless as it was after my recovery, but not lost anymore. It has a voice, and a job to do. I get that now.

Every single day we’re recovering, from everything. With every breath we are brand new. Those old tapes saying that we aren’t capable or worthy or equal are absolutely incorrect. We should take a moment to mentally smash and recycle them into gratitude.  It’s our choice.

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