Some things never change

When I was a toddler, my parents joked that I needed to wear a helmet. That’s because I was always falling and bumping my head. Luckily I had a really hard head, a head that bounced when it hit linoleum tile over concrete slab.

But the helmet part was probably true; I was a big clutz, and I stayed that way for quite a while. I never enjoyed sports growing up because something just didn’t click among my brain, arms and legs. I’m pretty sure I was one of about five kids in northern Illinois who never played in a soccer league. Naturally, gym class was torture and a source of constant embarrassment.

During my entire childhood I continued to fall and injure myself a lot. Elementary school summers found me with constantly bruised shins and usually no idea exactly from where the bruises came. I hit my head a lot. I also happened to accidentally bump things that burned me – obtrusive things like stoves and lawnmowers, mind you.

It wasn’t until about eighth grade that things started to coordinate a little better. Gym that year was bearable, partly because I had a fun teacher and partly because it was a small class and partly because I stopped caring so much about how awkward I looked. That year, I realized I actually enjoy sports and can have fun with them when I stop worrying. I also found that I am moderately athletic once coordination kicks in.

The sports part never amounted to anything because it was far too late to pick one up (everyone else had been playing since my helmet days), but I stopped being such a clutz. I learned how to walk in heels, how to not spill on myself, how to move up the stairs, how to not trip on the rug. Still, my family has refused to let me forget, and I am still labeled the family clutz. If ever I do stumble on my flip-flops or drop my class or bump into something, well, it’s Amy, so what else could we expect? It’s frustrating, really, because I am a graceful and coordinated person now. I teach sculpting and Pilates classes. I wear nice shoes. I have good balance and proper posture.

Except days like today, when I somehow failed to clear the doorway leading into my bathroom, and I bashed my forehead on the wall. On. The. Wall. Resulting in an instant and enormous bump. Who does that? Yep, you guessed it: Amy does. So I’m icing it as I write this, but I know it’ll probably stick around a while. I’ll likely get to explain it to the fitness class I teach tomorrow morning, and people in my classes might notice something odd about my forehead.

But oh, well, what are you going to do? At least this gives some remnants of explanation for and validity to my irrational fear of wiping out, food-laden tray in hand, in the dining hall.


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