Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. ~John Wooden
Let me just start right off by saying that I really, really hope that the next post is NOT about this stupid stress fracture. I need for it to not be, and I’m sure you need for it to not be, as well. But for now, I’ll tell the story I promised in the last post – you know, the one that temporarily knocked Pollyanna out.
I was visiting with a friend of mine after work last week – something I’d been looking forward to all day because I was ready for some light chatter and incessant puppy licking (by his three dogs, not him, obviously). Somewhere between coffee that morning and the drive over that evening, though, I felt this shift inside. Actually, that’s not even true. I was gut punched by this perfect storm of anger and sadness about not being able to run, and I spent those few miles in the car trying to figure out how in the hell I was going to keep my eyes bright and voice light. “There are worse things happening in the world, Adi,” I’m telling myself. “For fuck’s sake, there are refugees with no safe place to go, entire cities are euthanizing pit bulls for no reason, and Donald Trump is in the running for president, and you’re this upset about not being able to run for a little while?” Cue the eye-rolling, now. Anyway, I slap a smile on my face and walk in to three crazy dogs and some reliably easy conversation. The thing is, I can’t even tell you what we talked about. What I can say is that for the entire ninety minutes I was there, I was maddeningly focused on trying to keep him from seeing through my thinly veiled attempt at perkiness, and all I wanted to do was leave. Finally, I just did.
I did my own bizarre version of “peace out” in which I awkwardly asked, “Do you need anything else, because I’m going to head home?” What the hell, right?! I knew it was confusing and boorish and a whole host of other things that tend to fall outside of the way I interact with people, but all energy up until that point had been poured into ‘being myself’, and I had none left for simple, decent human interaction. There was also nothing left to feel remorseful about my abrupt departure. Nothing at all until I sat up wide-awake and consumed with guilt at 2:16am. I laid there for a while befuddled by my behavior – a musing that ultimately ended up in me writing this absurdly long, and, as it turns out, unnecessary email apology to my friend. Since I’m all about the vulnerability these days (Also, I’m being a bit lazy about this. Why reinvent the wheel, and all that, you know?), I’ll share a bit of what I wrote with you.
the 3am apology
I apologize if it seemed like I didn’t want to be there last night, but, well, I didn’t want to be there last night. It’s not specific to you; rather, I didn’t want to be anywhere. You see, I’m not a very good injured person, particularly when I don’t have a time frame of when the injury will heal… or a time frame that’s not three weeks to half a year, that is. For less than a week, now, I’ve been returning sentiments of sympathy with gratitude for it and answering all the questions with an easy smile and a hopeful spin, but it’s emotionally draining, and that bothers the shit out of me. I hate that I’ve already cycled back to having to fake positivity because it’s a glaring reminder of how much my identity is tied to running and yoga. Not just my identity, even, but my soul, it feels like. My essence. You know, when I say to people that it doesn’t hurt all the time, and that I only feel it if I step weirdly or move laterally, that’s true. Strangely, I wish it weren’t. I wish that the pain were constant. Right now, I have moments where I forget that something has been taken away from me, and then one misstep gives me a sharp reminder; and, each of those reminders drags me down a little bit further. If I could always feel it hurting, then I would know when it’s actually starting to heal, and I wouldn’t have those jolts back into reality. I’m not telling you this for pity, because that is the last thing I want or need. I’m just letting you know where I am and from where this next part stems.
I think what is really bothering me… Actually, I know what is really bothering me is that last night, I could see that it’s starting to seep into my relationships with people. I remember this from my injuries years ago, and it’s something that I’ve been trying my damnedest to not let happen. It’s been less than a week, and I'm already failing. These thoughts were interrupting our conversation last night, and I desperately wanted them to stop or for me to leave. I had two days in a row of really amazing, raw, honest conversation with two of my best friends, and yesterday morning when you said to come round later, I was excited for a third day of that sort of real talk with my other best friend. As the day went on, though, and I fought with this fucking boot and fought with myself about being okay with it, I felt the energy to “be okay out there” dwindle. I’m sorry that I missed out on that sort of conversation with you, because it’s always so damn good when we dig a little deeper than running. And I’m sorry that I was the way I was.
One last thing... I’m going to try my hardest to make sure that this isn’t the first in a litany of apologies that I’ll be giving to my friends over the next however long, and that this thing doesn’t consume me and let that negative energy bleed over into you all. There are so, so many worse things that could be happening to me right now and that are happening to other people. I get that this is temporary, and that in the grand scheme of things, it’s quite small. Please know that. It’s just that every once in a while it feels big.
I finished the last sentence and noticed that these words carried me to 3am exactly and very nearly to a place of calm. It took a while for me to hit send, though, because what if this apology wasn’t… I don’t know… full enough, or something? What if it didn’t read as an apology, but read more like a plea for sympathy? What if was too wordy, or what if it wasn’t wordy enough? So, of course I had another conversation with myself about how absurd I was being. “This is your friend, and he’s not going to judge your apology. Quit being an idiot and hit send.” I did.
Five hours later, I opened my email to this:
Whatever feelings and thoughts you perceive as seeping into your relationships is definitely not outwardly apparent. I had no idea you felt that way or have been struggling this much. The thing is even if it was outwardly apparent that this was bothering you...that's okay! That's why we have friends and people we can lean on during these times. Take it from me, I would be completely lost without you guys sometimes.
Uncertainty sucks. Not knowing when you will heal, when you can get back to running, and how it will affect your goals is very hard. You're strong though. Your body is healing whether you can feel it or not. Keep doing what you are doing and everything will come together. If you need a day to yourself; take it!!! If you need to be amongst friends; do it!!! No need to apologize. Just get some damn sleep!
Of course he’s right. These things are precisely why we have our people – to not only celebrate the good, but lean on during the bad, or be brought back into reality when we’re hanging out in a cloud of ridiculousness, as the case may or may not have been that morning.
An hour after that, my phone dinged with this impeccably timed text from another one of my people. My people rock.
Coincidence or intuition, I’ll never know because, really, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I have these people. These insanely amazing people who understand what it’s like to be in a difficult situation and slip into that I’m-going-to-beat-myself-up-
I still had over forty-five minutes before it was time to leave for class, but I decided to get to the studio early and do some prep work there instead of the coffee shop. Prep work being new music, picking a theme, finding a quote… that sort of thing. These elements that normally come easy to me had been in hiding lately, because, outside of a workshop I attended the day after my diagnosis, I hadn’t been practicing. I wasn’t quite ready to discover all the things I couldn’t do, yet. Anyway, I’m digging through Instagram for my quote, and I come across a meme that says THROW YOUR HAIR IN A BUN, DOWNDOG LIKE A BOSS, AND HANDLE IT.
Hmm… I’ve already got the bun, so let’s move onto the next two, right? I walked into the practice room and got into the most awkward variation of downward dog that I’ve ever experienced, but… It. Felt. AMAZING! It’s funny how strong I felt in that wonky downdog with my uneven legs and screaming right psoas. So strong, in fact, that I instinctively stepped my left foot up a bit, took a giant breath in, and exhaled my way upside down. My body wobbled with the weight of the boot, but, for the first time in too long, my inside – the soul, the essence, the part that matters – felt steady and almost boss-like.
Yes, I know this photo is shit with the crazy pixels, terrible lighting, and overall blurriness, but I have a short list of things that I can do well, and photography is not on it. I give zero fucks, though, because I'm handstanding in a boot.
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