Click the picture for the story of Calypso, the Three Legged Green Sea Turtle, and why she's my symbol

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Anatomy of the Awkward Crippled White Man's Dance

Those of you who have known me since before the accident know I've never been a particularly good dancer (no coordination and two left feet never helped me out). I had limited skills; I could freak dance with the best of them, I even learned to swing dance, thanks to some of my closest high school friends. Losing mobility in the lower half of my body threw what few moves I had out the window. For those unaware, I was paralyzed from a car accident, T-10 (thoracic vertebrae) down, not able to move either of my legs. A month after the accident I got a toe moving and from there I've gotten both legs moving.

Me relearning how to walk

The problem with movement is that not all of it is equal. For those unaware, movement comes in two forms: gross movement and fine movement. Gross movement is the ability to kick out or jerk a limb. Fine movement is the ability to make small controlled movements. Fine motor skills take the combination of larger muscles and smaller stabilizing muscles. Obviously these take much longer to build and even longer to use properly.

Back when I was still having trouble standing and walking.

My right leg from the very beginning has been recovering faster, with most gross and fine motor skills returning. Though it has taken over two years, my right leg is almost back to where it was pre-accident. The left leg is always the late one to the party. It has made some great strides in gross movement, allowing me to walk around. The fine movements are still lagging though. I can move it mostly where I want to, but it's always slow and is difficult to control.

Lack of fine motor skills is the real difference between your darling's "masterpiece" and art.

And there is more involved in the process than just legs. My abs and obliques, the muscles used to control your hips and waist, have had two years without doing a whole lot. I've slowly started to build these up but my time in my wheelchair did me no favors. All the small stabilizing muscles people take for granted are no longer there. I now have something to work toward.

 cliffnotes for trunk muscles

Now that I've finally ditched the wheelchair for good I can get back to pulling off my awkward mistimed moves. In the mean time everyone is just going to have to live with my jerky, weird looking, and probably embarrassing dancing and everyone can just shut the hell up! So dance like there's nobody's watching!

 Peter, before the accident, getting his "groove" on. He don't care what you think.
If you don't get this, go to and look up Honey Badger.

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