i took ballet lessons when i was a little girl, just fun lessons where we’d wear tutus and jump over our shoes. (though i remember i hated how my mom had to put my hair up in a tight bun for every class. she’d comb and pull and pin and fuss with my hair, and i was just a wild hair girl even back then, and wanted it all Left. Alone. thankyouverymuch.) one class we were all sitting on our knees, and the teacher, mrs. cox, said, “oh you girls are all sooo lucky, you’re at your most flexible right now and see? i can’t even sit on my knees without it hurting.” i remember feeling sorry for old people (ha, she was like in her mid-forties, max) and generally smug about being young and new. then she had us sit and reach for our toes and all the little girls in the class – including my best friend jennie – reached .. and touched their toes, some even grabbing their feet and laying their heads on their knees. me? my ankles were as close as i could get, with my head barely bowed and frustratingly far away from my knees. i was embarrassed and kinda shocked, but that was just the beginning of a long line of me thinking ach, athleticism is just not for me.

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