“No,” my surgeon responded after I asked if a cross-legged seat would be fully accessible to me after my surgery.

“No,” my physical therapist responded when asked if I would be able to achieve a child’s pose.

At my one-year post-op visit last week, I sat on the table and demonstrated the full range of motion needed for both poses. “Do you know that less than 1% of the population regains full knee flexion after total knee replacement surgery?” the surgeon remarked. “I’m curious – how did you do it?” I replied, “I listened to everything you said except your range of motion numbers.”

For me, the opinions of “authority” used to carry tremendous weight. From teachers telling me that I’d struggle in future grades to loved ones disapproving of my tears or telling me that I wasn’t going to make it, their beliefs diminished my power as they seeped into my subconscious.

I now cross-reference those cascading, often unexamined, and cunningly ignorant voices with my current personal value system of freedom, excellence, maturity, humility, honesty, love, reverence, service, courage, and health.

I refuse to subscribe to the following:

– Children convert to unyielding beasts during the teenage years

– Resilience equates to unwavering positivity

– Age grants wisdom

– Busyness is a badge of worth

– Sunken costs justify immobilization

– Love, ambiguous loss, and harshness are synonymous

– What I was taught about race, colonialism, and power is accurate

– Trauma recovery has a set due date

– Consensus reality defines success

Without careful scrutiny, these theories may run below the radar and inform how we conduct ourselves. May we be gently aware of their impact.

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