“My spine is my center. It is also a source of pain for me. I suffer from lupus, an autoimmune disease affecting over a million people, primarily women. The disease manifests itself differently in every sufferer and there is no known cause or cure. My primary organs affected are skin and joints, including my 9c102o26v0zKRNPLLSTKMLSOMMLRspine.
 
I think about my spine nearly every minute of every day as I try to adjust and readjust myself and relieve the pressure my joints are under. I crack constantly, and despite yoga and stretching and self-adjusting, I feel pain focused in my spine. For some, the pain is so debilitating it can be life-altering. For me, it is just a continual annoyance. While I feel lucky for the mild symptoms, I cannot take my mind off my spine.
 
Lately, I’ve also been thinking about my spine as my foundation. The backbone a powerful yet delicate and complex part of me. It does so much work and holds so much of me together while under continual duress.  Made up of small, individual vertebrae, the spine actually protects the spinal cord. Between vertebrae are the facet joints that are responsible for my flexibility. Just like our complex, modern lives, all pieces are working together to create a lifestyle and personality and impression. Sometimes things slip out of place: a spill leaves one stained and disheveled, a traffic mishap causes one to miss an important meeting, a relationship falls apart after an uncensored fight- a sense of balance is lost as things seemingly spin out of control. But with stretching and reflection, I can get things back in line.
 
What is my spine when it really comes down to it? It is the source from which I draw my power. When erect and upright, it gives me confidence as exhibited in good posture. When I need it to be curved and compact such as when I’m sleeping or curled up and sad, it can perform as I need. My spine is from where everything radiates, so I try to treat it as best I can and use it as it should be used – for strength. Being faced with no cure and no cause to place blame upon is a hard thing. But I can rely on my backbone of a supportive network of family and friends and confidence in myself to help keep me aligned.”

 
~Lauren Finney
 
Lauren Finney, a stylist and blogger, is Senior Fashion Editor at Niche Media.
 
March 2013