02 April 2008

Unnatural


We seem to be obsessed with contorting our lives into unnatural forms. Perhaps it's some after-effect of evolution and self-awareness -- that we know we're adaptable in the long term, so we feel we ought to be able to mutate to any situation we can conceive of in the short term. Perhaps, though, it's just that human beans are stubborn (not yielding, like Lima). We want to shove that square peg into that round hole because, dang it, give us our way!

No where is this more evident to me than at my day job. There is a central struggle to my day job, a daily effort to achieve, that has absolutely nothing to do with the business of the business I work for. That struggle is to come out of my day feeling better than crippled.

As some of you long-time readers may recall (and hey: thanks; your complimentary Easy-Bake Oven[TM] is in the mail), a little over a year ago I gots me an injury that I didn't gets diagnosed until some months later (see 5/16/07). Well, in spite of pretty extensive (not to mention invasive) physical therapy and a greater understanding of my pelvic area than I ever hoped to attain, the son-of-a-bleeping injury persists. Sometimes I even aggravate it, quite accidentally, by doing something extravagant; like pooping. (That's not quite a fart joke but it is, to my credit, way too much information. You're welcome.) In sum of substance, I have a bad pelvic floor, and it will require constant vigilance and good habits to keep it in working order.

One of the worst things to do to it is to sit for prolonged periods of time. Worse still, to slouch.

Part of one of my very first professional theatre experiences was joining an intern class in the Suzuki method. "Suzuki" is not the same thing (or, indeed, namesake) for actors as it is for string musicians. Tadashi Suzuki is a director who believe actors should strive for a full bodily expression in their work, and who pursues this through a rigorous physical training not unlike martial arts training. One of the primary goals is to build up the legs to great strength and control, and so his technique involves a lot of slow rising from the floor, or stomping, or holding difficult positions for long period of time. I dig this. I'm all about it. Punish me so I feel good! Growr! <--[ferocious; I'm telling you]

What man was never meant to do is sit in a chair for eight hours a day. Hell. We weren't meant to do it for an hour. It's bad enough when you've nothing in particular wrong with you. When your entire well-being rests on the regular stretching and release of your pelvic floor, well, brother, I'll tell you what. What? I'll tell you: It blows. And not in that nice Las Vegas way. Many's the time I've considered taking the pay cut just to have a more active job, like a bike messenger, or someone whose job it is to spend all day stretching their pelvis whilst wearing non-binding pants. If I ever see an ad for an actor to play a traditional Scotsman for tour groups, I'll leap at it like I was already wearing the kilt.

I know I could use a little more grace in my growing old. I'm working on that. But I also know it's pretty messed up, what we expect from our bodies day in and day out. Get out there and move, people. That's what's good. That's what's meant to be.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

A-MEN.

- Anonymous PT Student/Retired Old Theatre Bitch/Broken-Bodied Crone From Sitting And Listening To Professors Talk For Nine Hours Straight Nearly Every Day

Jeff Wills said...

I know, right?

- Some Guy