I don't really think about the way I walk most of the time. But I am thinking about it now because there is a hesitant, ginger feel to my movement.
My normal walk is a STRIDE. Because no matter what my destination, I am GOING SOMEWHERE. I think this walk may be inherited. My father walks like that. I walk like that. My brother John has amazing military bearing - he walks like that. Brother Andy has always had a "cop walk" - he walks like that. My brother Matt walks like that, too. Jerry and James don't walk that way. While they have busy lives, they also have a more leisurely approach to time and their lives. Their walks reflect that.
But I don't walk that way now.
Now that I think about it, I've really only been walking that way for about 16 years. It has to do with knowing yourself and feeling self-confident. As a horribly shy teenager, I slouched. When you're as short as I am, you could practically disappear when you do that. Then I was married to my first husband, I tried to be as invisible as possible. The less he noticed me, the better as far as I was concerned. When I finally left him, I learned how to stand up straight. I walked like I meant it. I was a smart, determined, confident woman and walked as if I believed it.
I've traveled some - Washington DC, Las Vegas, London, New York City. I've walked alone and at night and never been accosted. My walk may have had something to do with that.
There are only a few times since I learned to walk that I've had to move differently. When I had my son, it was by C-section. I walked for a while doubled over because they cut me across the middle and it got infected. When my son was about 8 months old, another car rammed into me from behind. It took two years to walk normally again. Then I began having horrible back pain about two years ago. The doctor diagnosed osteopenia at age 43 and prescribed mega doses of calcium, along with load-bearing exercise. I took the calcium and walked, but as time went by, I was using a cane more and more. It got to where I was using a cane every 3rd or 4th day because it was so painful to get up out of a chair or walk down the hall.
Then I signed up for KenPo. They worked me hard. The first class, they told us to do 100 jumping jacks, 25 pushups, 100 crunches, 50 oblique crunches each side, 30 dirty dogs, and 20 squat thrusts. There were other things, but these are the BASICS of every warmup. I managed 20 jumping jacks, 1/2 a pushup, 70 crunches, 20 or so oblique crunches, 10 dirty dogs and no squat thrusts. Then the workout began. Every class, I did the best I could. After a month of class, I stopped using my cane altogether. I think I may have used it once since then for a very minor knee injury. I can do all the warmup exercises (except the squat thrusts - my stomach doesn't take kindly to changing directions so abruptly so I do a substitute exercise) without hesitation - and I do every single crunch or pushup.
And my walk came back. I had my balance and my stride. I stood up straight and walked with purpose.
But today - I'm walking carefully. I'm slightly hunched forward and my stride is considerably shortened. I've been cut in the middle and it hurts. But I also know it will heal. That I will be fine. That I will be walking my walk again in no time.
I am 45 - and nothing will stop me now.