Published by Harvard Health Publications

I have always been accident-prone. It wasn’t unusual for me to suddenly lose my balance while walking down an even-paved path as though someone had slid a banana peel in front of me. I’d slam down hard on the ground, skinning knees and elbows. I once fell off a boardwalk on my bike into a swamp, my body casting an impressive outline in the reeds — like a cartoon character who has run through a wall. My body was often a landscape of bruises and scabs, while most of my dishes were doomed to break at some point, causing consternation among my roommates. The dishes were just some of the casualties of my clumsiness, for which I was sometimes scorned and scolded by teachers, parents, and boyfriends.

But I never connected this clumsiness to how my joints and tendons seemed as fragile as the glassware I sometimes shattered: ankles that twisted and sprained at the slightest misstep; wrists wrecked and inflamed for years from the first few attempts at downward dog during an introductory yoga class; a jaw that partially dislocated from the simple act of chewing on a tortilla chip. These incidences became less rare and more routine as time wore on, as well as more severe.

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