I am not sure how the conversation got started. A few co-workers and I were chatting during lunch and someone jokingly did an impersonation of my walk. Another co-worker laughed and confirmed that I do indeed sometimes carry myself in an unusual way.
The potato-sized lump that formed in my throat prevented me from responding with more than a forced smile and a few jovial remarks. I knew that my co-workers meant no harm with their comments. They weren’t taunting me or even making fun … but they did, unknowingly, hit a nerve that has been raw for nearly 30 years.
When I was in third grade, another student said that I walked like a “hot-shot” because I held my head too high and swung my arms with gusto. Mortified that my walk had made someone else feel inferior, I reacted drastically. I was, after all, only eight … I didn’t realize that my well-meaning attempt to boost someone’s ego would prove detrimental to my own image and esteem. Since my carefree style was the cause of conflict, I adopted a closed posture. I balled my fingers into tight fists and held them close to my side, this caused my shoulders to tense and hunch slightly forward (similar to the girl pictured in the upper right … only not so cute). The posture became a habit and that’s how I stood and walked until I reached high school. My classmates made fun of me and my walk was even made into a junior high dance move called “The Fulkroad.” (Fulkroad is my maiden name).
When I am not thinking about it … or when I am particularly stressed or intense, my shoulders chase my ears and my inner penguin takes center stage.
Being struck with the knowledge that I didn’t completely shed my funny walk reminds me of the other habits that I thought I’ve conquered, but haven’t really.
Sometimes … usually when my guard is down … a dormant habit awakens with a fresh boldness that leaves me sickened and stunned.
Tendencies to believe lies over truth.
Quests for control and perfection.
Cravings for validation from peers.
The list continues and each item on that list hurts. It hurts to know that those weaknesses are still a part of me. Yet, as much as those struggles are mine, they do not define me … just as my funny walk doesn’t define who I am.
And just as I was not alone when I was that girl with an awkward gait to correct … I am not alone now as a flawed woman determined to banish old habits of my spirit. Knowing that my journey is part of a holy refinement process gives me the strength to move forward with hope knowing that God will be glorified.
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13 NASB
Do you have any sensitive nerves like that – easily triggered even though you’re grown up?Leave a Comment