I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Well maybe thinking isn’t the right word. Grumbling is probably better. Grumbling because I am discontent with myself and an unpleasant situation that I find myself in the midst of more or less by my own doing.
Just over a year ago I damaged my knee badly playing soccer. Badly enough that even after surgery and rehab I still have suffered a minimum of 5% loss of mobility permanently. And I still have more surgery coming…
At the time it was just before finals at school and I had more than enough on my hands with just trying to prepare while limping around on crutches at home. I couldn’t attend classes, and nor could I do much else to be honest and just being able to get out of the house was a big treat for me when I managed it. That said it had been a very stressful year and the forced break from rushing around probably did me a lot of good.
Only… I didn’t really benefit from it like I should have. I was grieving. It struck me a lot harder than I’d expected to see my name on paper next to the branding statement: “permanent loss of mobility”. Five percent may not seem like a lot. In fact it seems kind of ridiculously insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Yet when you discover that small things like running and crouching down to get something out of the bottom of the cupboards in the kitchen without giving an impression of a beached whale, or kneeling to weed out between the flowers in the garden are suddenly awkward and painful and sometimes even impossible tasks … it kind of hits you what those five percent means. So, yeah I grieved. And I felt alone. Others were shrugging it off, I felt, and around me people seemed to have a hard time understanding that it wasn’t just a temporary inconvenience but something I was slowly having to learn to live with for the rest of my life.
In the months that followed I guess I put on a brave face and went along with their shrugging it off, subconsciously postponing the need to deal with indefinitely. I probably told myself that I couldn’t know anything for sure until the last surgery was complete and I had been through rehab all over again. But it was a lie. A comfortable convenient lie. I did and do know for sure that even with more surgery it won’t be like it was before ever again. I have the insurance check to prove it.
Finally, in February this year there was no way around admitting defeat. Though I had come a long way in rehab I was still failing half the physical tests that would have seen me cleared and taken off the surgery list. That was the second blow. And a bitter one, even if I didn’t want to admit it to myself, because in some way… that had become convenient too. Unable to run, bike and exercise in the ways I usually did, and with a job that demanded far too much time and energy for me to handle, the knee became an opportune excuse for cutting corners. And food became a comfort to seek when I needed to feel better about all the things that I felt was piling on top of me. I didn’t overeat. I just ate unwisely. And somewhere at the back of my mind I smothered the voice that told me I shouldn’t do that and that it would only get harder and harder to turn it around and get back on track with things again in favour of some self-indulgent placebo remedy of “doing something nice for myself”.
How fucked up is that.
And now, here I am. A year after I got injured. I’ve gained around a tenth of my own body weight, and I am for the first time ever in my life in the “overweight” category when I test my BMI. Only by a bit. But I am there nonetheless.
I’ve tried the gym but I just can’t stick with it. I hate it and even more because it is too crowded when I am able to go. I try walking and biking but am still restricted somewhat in that because I haven’t had the last surgery yet. And running is still completely out of the question. I’m allowed but I can’t. I’ve bought a kayak, which I enjoy taking out… but since I got it the weather has conspired to being so windy the waves almost topple the boat.
So, it’s hard. And I am hating it. I hate the way my clothes fit – or don’t fit. To the point where I just can’t be bothered dressing up or buying new stuff anymore. Jeans and hoodies. Hide away. I hate it. I HATE it. And most of all I hate it because though I have never been slim I have always been very toned and strong… and I am not anymore.
Of course that wasn’t all just lost in one year. I’d made bad choices for myself in the years before that, which started the degeneration and most likely also caused the lapse of strength and control that led to the injury itself last year. If I had been as fit as I thought I was, and as serious and careful about taking care of myself, doing warm-ups etc. as I wanted to believe I was… then I’d probably not be sitting here today as I am.
And that hurts most of all. It hurts because it seems insurmountable now. And because I along with the loss of mobility also have lost a huge part of my identity. As a soccer player, as well as a partner. It may not make sense to most others, but it will to my man. He will know what I mean by this. He has listened to my worries and fears and tried to assure me that they need not be there. That who I am doesn’t change because my physique does, and that it also isn’t contingent on what I can or can’t do. I know he is right. And I know I am blessed to have someone like that who loves me for who I am. But still, I struggle with it.
So, I’ve been grumbling and evading and running lately… and in between, I guess too I have been thinking and accepting. Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this now. The truth is that even as I am writing this out I don’t know whether I can make myself commit to what I know I need to do. To the changes in diet, in routine and in everyday life that are required in order to not just lose the weight and tone up but to remain that way… even when I go back on crutches again and have to start rehab all over.
I can’t honestly say whether I am done feeling sorry for myself yet – I want to be, but I don’t know if I want it enough to make the changes. Which also has had me thinking… What exactly is it that I am so unwilling to relinquish in my life to make these changes happen? Dietary habits? I can easily cut down or balance it better without feeling like I am losing out. Time? I have said for a long time that I need more balance in my life between things that stimulate and recharge me. Having something productive like exercise to do is actually an advantage because it doesn’t require anything other than the decision to do it. Energy? Yeah, maybe… I am a little worried about that one. But then, I actually think that I would benefit on this account too rather than feel it detrimental to my energy levels, so… no, I can’t cling to that one either.
I guess the simple truth is that the only thing it requires that I give up is… convenience. And somehow that is a huge deal for me. I don’t know why because I don’t really feel like I need it. Yet I am reluctant. At the expense of my health and well-being now and in the future… I am choosing convenience?
It doesn’t make any sense. A lousy five percent. Is it really worth feeling like this for a measly insignificant five percent when I can simply just get off my ass and do it? No. It isn’t. And I am ready to admit that to myself now.
I said it myself. Five percent seems a ridiculously small amount. Well, then… my first goal is going to be to lose five percent of my body weight.
I’ve said it.
I guess now all that’s left to see is who’s stronger. Me – or the Insignificant 5.