I need a lot of support.
I don’t mean emotionally, I mean my body seems uninterested in doing the work of staying upright. When I first learned how to get dressed on my own, it never occurred to me that I might want to stand up to put clothes on. I’d lay fully flat in bed and weasel my way into my outfits.
I’ve never in my life sat upright on a couch. I lounge, getting as close to supine as possible. When forced to sit in a chair, I slowly slide down until my body is fully ensconced in the chair, and if that’s not possible I curl up with my legs tucked next to me.
It’s not that my muscles are weak (I don’t think).
No that’s not it. It’s that something about my sensory awareness of my body and the pressure of posture makes so many positions uncomfortable. I stand for more than 30 seconds and my hips complain, my legs get irritable, my back twinges. I just want to sit down. I sit down and my shoulders start to slide down towards the ground. Sweet, sweet laying down.
All of this to say that my ideal work situation would be in some kind of pod that keeps me perfectly supported with my monitors above me so that I can lay comfortably on my back all day long.
It’s a joke but it’s not. Like most jokes I make.
I mentioned on Facebook the other day that this has been a thorn in my side for years, and a friend suggested that I take it seriously: just lay under a table and velcro an iPad up there with a wireless keyboard. I giggled a little bit. And then I stopped. I looked at my computer set up. My monitors were probably too big to make that work. But moving to the floor? Now there was an idea. Full support all day long.
I hauled a couch cushion into the corner, set up a table over it, and plopped down.
I’ve been there for the last three days and I’m never looking back. It’s the comfiest, most natural working environment I’ve ever been in. I have my back against a corner, so I feel snug and secure, I get the soft cushion with the firm support of the walls, and I have enough space to place all my bits and bobs and sensory tools. It’s like the solution had been sitting there waiting for me.
All it took was one sentence: lie on the floor, and suddenly I knew what I needed.
One of my biggest challenges with making accommodations for myself is that I often can’t imagine an accommodation until I’ve seen it. Fun fact: there are not a lot of examples of adult accommodations available. My job in meeting my own needs is to be immensely creative.
Sometimes that means trolling through a thousand products on Amazing to find the one that makes the most sense. But sometimes it means looking from a new angle: instead of at table height, moving to the ground and working up from there. In fact quite often it means thinking in levels: can I add height? Can I take away height? Can I define a space differently?
We’re not taught to think this way. Spaces are supposed to be thought of as floor (which is only for walking on), seating (which is a certain height), tables (which you sit at), and nothing higher than that for our usage. I want ways to climb my walls and perch near the ceiling like a fucking cat. I want to be able to burrow down in blankets under the table.
I want furniture and accessories that are MADE for these things, not repurposed attempts.
But I suppose for now I’ll have to keep looking from new angles. Sometimes you find the unexpected. And then you end up with the support you didn’t know you needed.