My Mother groaned and moaned, sighed really big and slow like a Southerner. .. “A lady always sits with her legs crossed”….. “Practice, you can do it”….
I was skinny, and gawky, and bendy. Like a wish bone.
I folded myself up like a paperclip to watch TV. Sprawled all over the place, like a limp spider, to read a book. Crouched Chinese style to dig in the dirt. Tucked myself neatly into an accordion to sit on the floor and draw. I was bendy. I never sat like a lady.
“Don’t run” she bellowed as I flew out the kitchen door, nose first, ankles trailing behind me. “Don’t run” she begged me when I was finally pregnant and in early labor. “Don’t run” she pleaded when I took up ballet for the seventh time at thirty-five.
“You’ll fall” she whispered. "It's not ladylike..."
To cross my knotty knees. To not let my panties show. To not hike my ankles up in the air so my toes could reach the stars. To not tuck my feet under my fanny and plop on the floor. To not loll around in my body …
To go slow…
I tried to be ladylike.
But I was hanging from trees, and climbing out windows, sliding down dunes and scuffing in the dirt, dancing on dirty dance floors and skating in ditches....
And I was laughing.