I Will Never Be the Graceful Girl

Free use image from http://www.gratisography.com/
I will never be the graceful girl.

I will never float through a room, dancing on silent feet. I will never let compliments slide off my wing-edged shoulder blades and sink liquid down my indented spine, soaking into translucent skin. I will never be swept off my feet like I am made of a whisper of smoke combined with sugar, and spice, and all things nice.

There is a grace in the movement of some women that I will never be able to capture. I will never be the ballerina who glides across the stage in time with every chime of a melody (my failure in ballet as both an adult and a child has put paid to that dream). I am not like Grace of Monaco, not like Audrey Hepburn, not a poised swan of a woman.

Instead I breenge*. I crash around the house- clattering into the kitchen, bashing into doorways as I go. I sit down in a heap, like a baby foal. I cross my legs constantly, twist one below me like a crumpled bag of bones.

My dad used to say I sounded like a baby elephant- clumsily careening heavily through the hall. I've been this way since I was ten years old; taller that most of the girls, taller than the boys, missing that fairy-like lightness. As the guys have become taller, I have stayed as unbalanced. I don't know how wide my hips are- I bump into passersby with a maraca shimmy shake. My passage through buildings is interrupted by a sudden recoil as I get my belt loops caught on door handles. If you want to pick me up it will take a rambunctious effort.  Even my conversation is all action and reaction, a quick-play game.

In my active life I cannot dance, I have never been able to move my body with fluidity. When I run its all effort, slog and at the best of times charge and spirit. Although climbing affords me brief moments of balance, I still thrive in the dynamic moments. Maybe that's better though. I can run up a hill without (much) complaint, I can almost do pulls ups, I can hike mountains, and jump off walls, and climb trees. I'm learning to love that. Love the tiny bit of deltoid I'm developing. Love my hip stability.

According to many internet and book articles, a woman can learn to be graceful.  But I'm not sure I'm interested anymore. I used to want to be ballet-beautiful. I used to dream of being that kind of willowy. Dream of being a captivating whisper through the lives of others. However the more I think about it, and think about what these articles say about grace... to me grace is being silenced, and there's little joy in that. I'm a little too much sometimes but I think I'd rather be a little too much than be a little too little.  I am not graceful, but I am emphatic- in my swearing and metaphor filled manner of speaking, in my movement and charge, in my climbing and my running and my life. 


Are you graceful? How do you feel about your way of moving and acting in the world?

* breenge /briːndʒ/
verb (intransitive)
to lunge forward; move violently or dash

It's a very Scottish phrase.


  1. Interesting post. I'm definitely with you here- not graceful, can't dance, but I've learned to become more comfortable in my own skin, in my "man-shoulders" and loud laugh and ungraceful mannerisms.

    1. I have 'man shoulders' too- aka powerful, wide, strong shoulders (and you should be told that I always admire your shoulders in photos).

      Your loud laugh says your humor deserves to be heard, and you're happy to express amusement- those are good traits :-)