I was punched in the back in the fourth grade by this classmate, someone I think back of as some budding serial killer. I am pretty sure his name was Jeffrey. He was from a military family, from Alaska I think. This may have been third grade, maybe fifth. The teacher was out of the room. I don't remember what I did to make this guy angry. I remember him raising his fist high and slamming it against my back. It hurt so bad. I smiled at Jeffery in response. I wanted to cry. I smiled, fighting back tears, not wanting this person to see, not wanting any of my classmates to see, how much I hurt, how much this person had been able to affect me. He hit me again and I smiled again, a crazy fuck you smile, my eyes watering with tears that were no longer doing such a good job of hiding. The teacher came in soon after and we resumed class, she having no clue about this psychotic scene that just took place, two emotionally distant kids trying to hurt each other while a class of children looked on. He punched me and I smiled as way of saying: that's nothing, you're weak, wanting to hurt his sense of pride.
He was gone in a year or so, family relocated to another military base, where he would be the new, out of place kid in some other classroom, probably again resorting to violence to deal with his situation.
I sometimes like to attribute, on days when I am prone to meandering, nostalgic thoughts, my poor posture to this moment, that ever since that moment, there was always some fear in the back of my mind, however small, that someone was going to come up behind me and punch me in the back. As a result, I tell myself in these thoughts, I crouched inward, a defense mechanism, hunched shoulders, back turned in, always braced for a punch that I still fear coming some 25 years later.
I have been made more aware of my posture lately because I injured some muscles in my shoulder a month or so ago while lifting weights at the gym. I went to a doctor, who prescribed me physical therapy to help heal it. In these two physical therapy sessions I have been to, they have explained to me that my injury was probably due to my posture. They explained it in ways that I don't entirely understand, but which seem to make a lot of sense. I knew I had bad posture, but wasn't aware that it was so bad that it could cause me physical problems. They have given me various posture exercises to do at home, which seem really easy, but because of my poor posture, are actually really difficult. I wish I could take this physical therapist I saw today around with me everywhere for her to tell my how to stand and where my shoulders should be.
I am trying to take as much advantage of this physical therapy as possible right now as my health insurance will probably be ending soon. A couple days ago, I turned in my two week notice to my job. My days in hospitality are quite literally numbered now. I can't believe it's almost here, that it's going to happen. I think for a little while there, I had thought I might be working in hospitality for life, it having already been five years or so. I am so excited to see what it is like to wake up two weeks from now and not think about what various disasters await you at a hotel full of rich, needy people, to not think about such petty things even when off from work in the evening. I wonder where all that mental space devoted to that will soon go. I am so excited to find out.
I had a burrito tonight. I have one just about every night these days.