Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves more than its natural curve, resulting in a C- or S-shape. The hips or shoulders, because of it, may be slanted. It’s much more common in people assigned female at birth. In January 2015, I was told that my scoliosis was severe enough that it would require spinal fusion surgery. In February 2015, I attended the first meeting of my local chapter of Curvy Girls Scoliosis.
Today, our chapter officially became dormant.
To me, it feels like the end of an era. I’m 20 right now; I’ve spent nearly eight years of my life, almost half of my life, attending Curvy Girls meetings. I’ve literally been with my chapter since the beginning. I was at the first meeting with our leader and one other person, then the next several with our leader and two other people. I’ve been to nearly every meeting, even the virtual ones because of COVID and college. And now, those are done.
A couple things about the group were always funny to me. One, I was almost always the oldest one there, since I’m older than our leader by a handful of months. We usually got people our age and younger in the group. Two, I’ve almost always been the only one who had one spinal fusion. Two of our members—two of our original group of four—had spinal fusions every six months for years. I was lucky to only need one. And most of our other members simply needed bracing, which I know isn’t “simple” but it feels it, sometimes.
So it felt weird, to open that email and read that there wasn’t going to be a meeting next month, or the month after that, since our leader is stepping down and we don’t have anyone to take it over. I would’ve had to leave after next June, anyway; Curvy Girls is meant for girls under 21 to find support with each other. Despite there being a very constant revolving door of people who came to meetings, I always felt a kinship with them, since we all had our back troubles in common. Though I will say, our leader alongside my youngest sister and I were the three most constant people in the group throughout those years and I wouldn’t trade those meetings for anything.
I’m very sad to see them go, and I suppose I’m writing mostly to process that. Those girls were there for me for so much. They were some of the first people who knew when I had to get surgery, because that was what the support group was for in the first place. That was why I was referred to them. They visited me in the hospital afterward. Months later, they came to see me in my first high school musical. We all talked about our backs and our lives every month. It felt like we grew up together.
I’m sad to see that all go. Even though I know I’m fine without it. I was never the one who needed the support the last several years—I was helping give support when I could, as the only one who hadn’t gone through bracing. Even so, I can’t help but be sad about the loss of this group in my life. Even though our average age of participants is now around ten or younger. I have a lot to thank all of these girls for.
Talk about the end of an era.