Friday, November 07, 2008

I Want to Believe

The responses I received on my previous post were very positive. I also couldn't help but feel that everyone was relieved that I'd finally written about something deep for a change rather than just TWILIGHT WEEEEEE! (Although having said that you should click the link because it might be my favorite teaser yet.) I think my only excuse for lack of substance could be sleep deprivation, oh wait, and the fact that I now share the computer with Miss A - aka "I wanna play my Dora game!!!" girl. But if you want deep, I can be deep. Check it.

So we've had our first skiff of snow. Right now we should actually be at Peter's mom's for a visit but due to poor weather she's actually stranded at Peter's brother's house and not at home and even if she wasn't the weather might have prevented us from going anyway.

From the first minute that I was out in the awful sleety stuff I felt a wave of sadness come over me. I was a bit confused because although the winters in my part of Canada are excruciatingly long, I am sort of used to them by now. It may have something to do with the fact that winter means December is on it's way and December is when I head back to work. It could also be the fact that Miss A not only loves but requires time outside each day to burn off excess energy. We still take her out but the frigid temperatures provide extra challenges to that task. Not to mention taking a small baby out in 35 below weather is not ideal. It won't be as nice as our summer walks to the playground that's for sure.

But it wasn't until today when I was walking like a 90 year old to the car with the kids that it hit me. I'm afraid. Afraid of falling. Afraid of breaking something again. I feel fragile.

I was thinking it is similar to the feeling of emotional fragility. When you've taken so much verbal abuse from people that you just can't even handle the thought of hearing another negative comment. I've experienced this as well.

But my ankle fracture wasn't the first time I felt my body had let me down. The first notable time was when I was twenty one and tore my ACL. It was a long and seemingly endless adventure of scoping then recovering, scoping, reconstructing then recovering, and then one year later tearing more cartilage and having to get it scoped again. I remember going back to Taekwon Do after my reconstruction and feeling so inhibited, so nervous that I would injure myself again. I hated holding back. Not being able to commit to my movements. It made me want to quit, to walk away and never look back. If I couldn't do it all the way I didn't want to do it at all. But I stayed. I stuck it out. And eventually I learned to trust my body again. To believe in it's ability to heal.

It seems this is a lesson I have continually been taught. Since that experience I put my back out seriously, had two pregnancies during which I was horrifically ill and the last of which I, of course, dislocated and fractured my ankle. Afterwards I lay on the ice, silent, unmoving. Everyone remarked at my bravery, my incredible pain tolerance. But on the inside I was breaking apart. Not again. I can't do this again. This can't be happening. I. can't. do. it.

But somehow I did. I survived two months of hobbling around on crutches while simultaneously being incredibly ill. I sometimes think it was a good thing I didn't have to work during that period as I'm not sure how I would have done it. I hate to even imagine trying to make it to the bathroom at work before losing my lunch all over the laminate flooring.

Not only did I survive, I triumphed. In less than one year after the accident I am walking normally. (something I seriously doubted I'd ever do again when I was freshly off my crutches) I am teaching fitness classes. I am training for an indoor triathlon. And yet, I'm finding as the anniversary of the incident creeps up on me as does the winter season, that familiar unsettling feeling is creeping up on me as well. The fear. The mistrust of my body. The feeling of being breakable.

I don't want to feel like a 90 year old who is afraid to leave her home for fear of breaking a hip. Not at 32 years of age. But it seems it is an inevitable stage I need to go through after enduring an injury. I need time to adjust to the weather and its sometimes treacherous conditions. I need time to gain faith in my body once more.


bon said...

Oh. I hadn't thought about it much, but even just getting back to working out regularly after pregnancy is gonna have some of these elements for me. Physical rehab is necessary EVERY TIME I go thru pregnancy. And now the damage I have done to my MCL (surely just a strain).

This post is hitting very close to home.

Lynanne said...

Would Taekwondo help you find your balance again? Your postpartum body is a different one from the one you had pre-Baby B. I don't mean that in a negative way. With every pregnancy, our pelvic joints loosen and widen, muscles are stretched and work differently. We become different people emotionally and physically. Personally, I felt like I was fighting to be the person I was before I had children. I wanted a certain number on the scale. I wanted to be able to move the way I could before without getting tired or aching. I felt off-balanced and off-centered. I found yoga helped me (the exercise kind) but often wished I'd tried tae kwon do again. Confidence, balance, and connection. Hmmm...oh heck, what am I talking about?

Anonymous said...

Maybe something like this would help, on the physical side of it, anyway...

elizasmom said...

My sympathy. I've not had this experience so I can't imagine what it feels like — but I've felt, in other contexts, what it's like to be at odds with your body, and I hope that you find a way to recover your faith and fearlessness.