“She understands. There is nowhere to go but on. Still, part of her longs to go back.”Celeste Ng, “Everything I Never Told You”
It’s been 3 weeks since my last run.
For me, like so many others, running has been my escape, my outlet – a way to process my emotions in a healthy way and enable me to handle the everyday stressors of life. Without it, I feel lost, restless, agitated and anxious.
I was so hopeful coming off of Pittsburgh’s Marathon weekend but, as it turns out, wrapping my spinal injuries up in a corset and taking them for a run is actually not a good longterm solution. In fact, it sounds even crazier to me, now that I’ve spelled it out in black and white. Like placing bandaids on bullet holes – the damage is still there, beneath the surface, and just because you’ve covered it up does not mean that it’s better now, or that it ever will be again.
I recently had an MRI and the results were not what I had hoped for. It’s opened my eyes to the fact that my body is currently not healing properly and continuing to push through my workouts (even with significant modifications) is not helping – in fact, it’s actually making me worse. It’s time for me to finally accept what needs to be done and find a way to process through it.
I remember the very first session I ever had with Dr. Michael, nearly 20 years ago. The observation he made about me was spot on.
“You don’t handle ambiguity well, do you?”, he asked.
Me: “Wait – what do you mean?”
I’ve come a long way since then, but lately I feel a bit lost in my own mind. I find myself depending upon some very basic mindfulness techniques just to get through some days. Things I’ve learned during the most stressful period in my life – anything simple and easy, yet strong enough to ground me and bring me back to NOW, rather than all the would-a, could-a, should-a’s that play themselves over and over in my mind. Or all the unanswered questions and fears about the future, dancing in the distance, clothed in everything frightening and unknown.
The truth is, no one ever thinks about this side of a skydiving accident. Generally speaking, we think in terms of Life or Death. I, on the other hand, have been forced to face this middle ground – that “grey area”, where things are mostly alright, yet still terribly wrong. Yes, I am alive and functional – but I will never be my formerly known version of “normal” again. Learning to accept this realization comes with the uncomfortable truth that I may never again be physically capable of doing all the things I love to do. This is something that I, unfortunately, must now sit with.
Sit with it, and settle into the discomfort.
Sit with it, as my soul screams inside.
Sit with it, until it settles down.
Sit with it, until the screams subside.
Sit with it… but never, ever surrender completely unto it.
There is still so much life all over the place! This is a reminder I often need. Even when I forget it, even when I choose to ignore it- Life is still here. Waiting on me, waiting for me – and waiting for you, too.
Take a moment today, even if just a second, to notice that Life surrounds you. Maybe it’s comforting? Maybe it’s warm? Maybe, in this moment, it pisses you off? Maybe it’s just there – neutral, holding you. Just notice it. It’s always here. It’s always there. It’s literally everywhere, just waiting for you to remember… and come back to it.