I decided I needed to reclaim my life. I decided I needed to take control of things. As I have always believed that a strong body leads to a strong mind I set out to relieve my body of it’s weakness and hoped my mind would follow suit. So I went to a gym, CrossFit Roots in Boulder, and decided to start big. I had tried to do Nike workouts with a kinect but given the small size of my house and odd shape of my room I spent most of my time arguing with a computerized trainer programmed to give only slightly patronizing motivational responses. I ended up giving the TV the middle finger while waiting for the clock to run out on the workout, that’s when I knew, I would need a real person to push me out of this funk, past this pain and into a world where exhaustion doesn’t dictate my daily life.
I spent a week with a trainer named Ali. She was great and pushed me just enough to slightly frighten me into thinking I had a cerebral spinal fluid leak but not enough to actually get one. After 3 workouts with her I was ready for the “women’s only program” which I assumed would be decidedly less intimidating than working out in a room drowning in testosterone. The first workout involved pull ups, dead lifts and jump roping. It was hard. By the third set my body felt unfamiliar, my breathe was uneven, my arms tired, weak. I hardly recognized my own body. I felt like I could do this but each pull towards the bar and my body caved. In the end the stellar trainer Tracie gave me a little push, lifting my body through the workout. She helped me and pushed me and I finished. I was in last place but hey, I was done. I had finished. I left that day in a state of euphoria. While I was forced to recognize that I was severely put of shape and more debilitated by surgery than I had ever imagined, I was fighting. For the first time since this whole shitshow started I actually felt brave. I was fighting my body, I was doing it, I was taking it all back. I was supposed to go to three workouts this week. I only made it to two. The second, well that involved jumping and given that my pain has been steadily increasing for the last two weeks the combination of little sleep and a forgotten ibuprofen dose meant I was in pain. I didn’t register the problem immediately but the workout included box jumps (which have caused me to fall and fall hard before) and on each jump I felt my brain slamming against my skull. And no, I don’t know that is actually what happened but that’s what it felt like. Boom. Jump, step down. Breathe. Jump. Boom. Step down. Ow. So between each jump I muttered f&$k you Herbert under my breathe. I finished the workout. And now, as I sit here covered in icy hot I recognize that skipping today to heal from yesterday was not the epic failure it felt like. Rather, it was me, patiently fighting. That’s what this journey is about, the journey. A journey predicated on patience.
Patience. Ugh. I used to snarkily tell friends that it is a virtue. I was always good at waiting , waiting in lines, waiting for change, waiting for life to happen to me. but is that really patience or is it resignation? As for Virtue… I have not felt virtuous. I have felt altogether impatient. I don’t have patience for well meaning friends who muse about the meaning of life, love and friendship. I don’t want to muse. I want to heal. I don’t want to question the reality and construction of my life, I want my familiar construct back. I either want that back or whatever epiphany I’m supposed to gain from facing my mortality and making it, to show itself. My epiphany is like a big fat coward hiding in the woods. “Show yourself!” Patience may very well be a virtue but it’s one that takes very real practice.
All in all I am doing okay. I still have pain from surgery. I am painfully behind in replying to emails, and in writing thank you notes for all the love and support. Just know, though I may have lost my patience I haven’t lost my sense of gratitude. In my continued quest to heal my body to heal my mind and in turn heal my heart I took on some physical change. I dyed my hair, changed the way I look. I suppose part of me hopes Herbert will go out and on his way home not recognize his host body…
Either way, strong body strong mind, that’s what I tell myself when things get hard. And when my body fails? Well then I flip the script and it becomes strong mind, strong body. It’s a quest to see myself as a whole and then to accept that whole, that hearingless, lopsided, weaker than average whole. And to create it, into whatever I want it to be.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself” -unknown
Peace and love –
I started working with a trainer too! And I’m almost 2 years past surgery but I still fear that d*mned CSF leak too!
That csf leak is on my mind all the time! Despite the doctors and everyone else telling me how unlikely it is! But today I lost the rear of my favorite pants so maybe I’ll take the risk!!!
I actually HAD a CSF leak…so I hear ya! I’m sure you’re in the clear, no pun intended. 🙂 What do you mean lost the rear of your pants? 🙂 Sounds interesting!