Been experimenting with massage tools to loosen up my own muscle knots. There's a rubber wedge that unfreezes my shoulder blade, a sort of crab-cracker for the neck and shoulders, a wooden block that frees my neck, rollers for my forearm. They hurt like the devil, but in the good way that means blood flow and mobility will follow. They'll be travelling with me all of July, marking the first time since my extended 3+ month China/Philippines trip in 2007 that I've packed anything larger than a backpack. (Not counting moving between residences of my own, of course).

Now that I'm starting to get used to the feeling of muscles releasing via massage, I need to learn how to keep them loose. One blocker to that is that I'm weak - by that I don't mean out of shape in general (though I could certainly get better), but that specific muscles simply haven't been used in years because they've either been knotted up or bound by other muscles that were. I don't have the strength or the control (proper posture is still something of a crapshoot; I repeatedly stand or sit until I get it right, but I can't consciously move myself into position) to use them properly, which means I still overuse the wrong muscles, which means things knot up again. So I am going to look at awareness first, then control, then strength, then flexibility. Slowly. It'll take weeks and months and years.

I've become increasingly interested in the physical feedback mechanisms that work for piano playing, which I am still quite new to. I want to get that peripheral awareness of my body into computing; in both, you submerge yourself into your instrument in order to create something, so if you have to consciously and constantly figure out how to use your instrument, it's no good - but piano-playing does this in such a way that you must stay very aware of your body's relationship with the instrument to perform well, whereas there is no such immediate performance incentive with computing. In other words, while bad posture while typing might make your hands hurt in a couple hours, bad posture while playing piano makes you sound terrible right now. Dimming my monitor unless my posture's good? I don't know... but I'm starting to leave space open to think of hacks to make for this.

While talking with my aunt (the kindergarten teacher) about how young children learn to use and move their bodies, and how I've always been physically awkward and kinesthetically unaware (and to compensate, extremely cerebral), we both realized I'd spent a large chunk of my toddlerhood in a hospital bed. 2 months in a coma is a long time for a 2-year-old to not be running around, and I was in a bed for quite some time after I came out of that coma. Physical therapy as a 3-year-old let me walk and sit again, but whie I can perform all these actions functionally, I wasn't doing them very consciously, or well, throughout most of my life.

Reading through early childhood motor development books and exercises (apparently this is where gym teachers get their stuff from) has been instructive. Some of their exercises are hard! And it's frustrating, because my brain can think of how a body ought to be able to do this, but my body won't, in subtle ways - my hips won't rotate like so when I sit, and now it's not just a child's unfamiliarity wih having a body that I need to fight, but two decades of habits embedded in the body of a young adult. At least I won't have another growth spurt and another body mapping to relearn in a few years. If I get a tripod, I'll try to film some of them so I can document my physical awkwardness diminishing.

I love learning in unfamiiar worlds. It's a game to see how quickly I can become fluent in something completely foreign to me, to learn how to learn something from scratch. In some ways, it's a blessing I missed out on a lot of things as a kid; it allows me to see them with fresh eyes as a conscious, grown-up learner... and I'll never take knowing anything for granted. Or at least I'll do my best.