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Behind the #waitingwiggle

I’ve always been a 'wiggler' as I never could sit still. I was told off by my Nana who said I will never be a ‘lady’ if I don’t stop fidgeting. I find I jiggle my foot anytime I have my legs crossed (not optimal sitting – bad physio). But I particularly wiggle when anxious or nervous, which is why Mum and I noticed we both sat in waiting rooms and jiggled our feet.

I started to post my foot wiggle on Instagram as I just knew the chronic illness community would ‘get it’. That my wiggling foot expressed more than words could…the nervous wait, the appointment anxiety, the pain distraction and the I hate waiting rooms. It started to be my little way of being like ‘ugh, appointment’ without needing to say anything. By the end of 2018 I made a video of all my waiting wiggles and found it emotional to see all those hours I had spent waiting. Whilst the world kept turning, friends moved on and progressed in life, here I was waiting. Often waiting with the elderly which I hold nothing against, as I often chat to them – but sitting as a twenty-something in a room full of geriatrics can feel rather bleak.

A few people started tagging me in their own waiting wiggles. It was like everyone was saying ‘yes, I see you. I am here with you too’. That silent solidarity showing we are in it together. The hashtag #waitingwiggle started to spread and now there have been hundreds of waiting wiggles (too many to fit in one instagram highlight!).

It may seem like a trivial thing, something small and silly as moving our feet. However this connection between all our wiggling feet is quite powerful. Throughout much of chronic illness life, we are alone through our worst moments in pain, stuck in hospital or attending medical appointments. Although family and close friends may be there, it is still us that’s experiencing everything. We endure all this on our own and there is something mighty in sharing these moments with others going through the same thing. As @Rinabloom beautifully put it we have “turned an anxious behaviour into a communal and cute one”.

Now when I wait in waiting rooms, I look through through the highlight and enjoy watching everyone’s individual wiggles as they are waiting too. I don’t think appointments ever get any easier, but it’s like a virtual hand hold from the chronic illness community and I just love that. So feel free to join in and use the hashtag #waitingwiggle

Lots of love,

Zoe xx

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