The back corset was meticulously arranged. Velcro faces inched slowly closer together until vis à vis. A snug, supportive fit desirable, yet completely impossible. Too tight or too loose, too high or too low, no position would satisfy. Perhaps it was nerves or lack of confidence preventing the perfect application of my new, necessary accessory, or perhaps it truly was incorrectly applied. Finally a compromise was reached, which still allowed respiratory function, yet required increased energy input. To hide the unfashionable, uncomfortable and currently unrefined bulk of black material, velcro and elastic, I added layer upon layer of winter clothing. It has been three months since I have braved the chill or fought the wind and the temperature is that much more biting and I am that much weaker, that much less able to protect my core. Enclosed in a wrapping consisting of faux fur, wool, acrylic and cotton, zipped into sturdy leather boots and topped in a homemade headband, I was ready to venture outdoors.
Externally policed on either side by protective parents and internally regulated by punishing pains, the walk began. Every step taken was a success, an achievement, a milestone, but I was incapable of celebration as every metre forward meant a compulsory 100cm in the opposite direction. The walk, despite the company, was as Thomas Hobbes in his book Leviathan, 1651, describes mankind, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short". However, that is not to say I did not enjoy it. The increasing distance my legs will carry me is empowering, energizing and encouraging. Yet, like many aspects of life, these triumphant, enthusiastic perceptions are those of hindsight, those occurring after the activity and recovery are complete. I am hopeful that in time, the actual journey will be as invigorating as the recollection.