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  • Ten years ago, while I was lying on a rolfer's massage table, the rolfer--a cheerful grandfather type--explained my hip and shoulder misalignments as he sunk his fingers into the back of my neck: "Well, that's because of your scoliosis, my dear."

    "My what?" I almost jumped off the table.

    At first I confused scoliosis with multiple sclerosis, which I knew to be a progressive, physically debilitating condition. Then I thought of the girl in high school with a curved spine. Should I be wearing a back brace, I wondered? Did I look deformed?

    "Such a shame, those beautiful girls who just don't look right in their bikinis," he continued. I had visions of the elephant man. Was I an elephant woman? Also, was I blind?

    As per usual, I had overreacted. Only body workers know I have scoliosis. "Just a mild case," I say, as if it were no big deal, but that's not entirely true. My mild case translates to constant imbalances which means constant headaches which means things that barely matter, like no necklaces or halter tops. This is now--what happens in twenty years? Fifty?

    Yet this is where I say, thank you, scoliosis.

    Thank you for getting me to the yoga studio three times a week. Thank you for making me stretch as I wait for the train. Thank you for helping me listen to physical pain. Thank you for my rolfer in Kalamazoo, Michigan; Houston, Texas; Geneva, Switzerland. Thank you for my chiropractor in Manhattan. For the acupuncture, the Thai massage, for welcoming strangers' healing hands on my body. You brought me into your world. What I didn't know: it was also mine.
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