Standing on the balls of her feet in front of her bedroom mirror, Tessa Newton, 25, who lives with mild cerebral palsy, spent several hours anxiously correcting her posture prior to her parents’ semi-annual visit.
“My mom always zeroes in on my spine,” said Newton, aware that she’ll probably slouch if she isn’t consciously holding herself straight every second. “I also feel them constantly judging my gait,” she added, practicing walking back and forth. She tried to follow her childhood podiatrist’s old instructions to put her weight on the outsides of her feet.
In order to prevent a stressful dinner of her parents eyeing her form, Newton retrieved a chair from the kitchen and put it in front of the mirror to check her sitting position.
“I tend to slump when I sit for a long time,” said Newton, wincing as she straightened her torso. “Then my dad tells me that’s why my back always hurts.”
When she received a text from her parents saying they would be there in twenty minutes, Newton decided she had done as much as she could and braced herself for the upcoming criticism. She was looking forward to the end of the visit, when she could allow her posture to deteriorate back to its normal state.