Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Big Weight

While stretching at the gym this evening, after a killer run and some weight lifting, a girl who couldn't have been more than 11 years old sat down next to me and started talking to her mom. "I've lost weight, but I know that I shouldn't."

I glanced over and snickered - this girl was the size of a twig, and also, too young to be talking about weight.

Her mom replied, "You are getting a little chunky."

STOP THE MUSIC!

Did the not-so-skinny-herself-mom next to me just tell her daughter that she's fat?!

At this point, I stopped listening to the conversation. 1. It is none of my business what a mom tells her daughter at the gym. 2. My brain wouldn't shut-up about the fact that a mom just told her CHILD that she's chunky. 3. I still had stretching to do and sometimes my breathing gets loud.

I grew up with an eating disorder. I didn't realize that I had an eating disorder until earlier this year, when I was talking to a friend about high school and her own eating disorder. I just figured my eating habits in high school were normal... I guess. I skipped breakfast and only ate an apple for lunch, drank water all day, and nibbled on dinner. This went on for the majority of my high school career. I looked fantastic. I really did. At least, I thought that I did. No meat on my bones and a body that most girls in high school couldn't achieve. Because they ate more than an apple for lunch. Somehow, I sustained myself on that tiny bit of food and now that I think about it, maybe that's why most people thought I was a bitch. How can you not be in a pissy mood when you have no food in your body? GAH! Wow. When you really stop to think about things, you realize that you were NOT the person you thought you were. And for some reason, that really makes me laugh.

If I remember correctly, I think that my unhealthy eating habits followed me into college (if you can call what I did "going to college"). I don't remember eating much during that time in my life either. All of that changed when I moved to California and started waiting tables. When one of the perks was free food... oh man did I take advantage of that shit. Clam chowder for breakfast? Why the fuck not?! Every day?!!?! YES PLEASE!!!! Lunches were just as awesome, and dinners typically consisted of something creamy with pasta. I ballooned up and didn't realize it until one day, as I was taking a shower, I looked down and couldn't see my toes. I had gained 20 pounds. I have a very tiny frame, so 20 pounds was A LOT.

I did the Atkins diet-thing and lost most of the weight within several months. It was not the healthiest way to lose weight, but it did work. Throughout that time, I realized that I absolutely adore food. I love to eat. I love the way food tastes. I love cooking. And I love eating. I've managed to stay pretty fit over the last few years and only gained 10 pounds after breaking my ankle last December. I'm working to get rid of that weight, but it is slow going. I certainly can't run like I used to, but it's happening, and I'm not going to push it. When my ankle says that it's done running, despite my brain's best efforts to convince my body that it needs to keep moving, I listen.

Admittedly, I have a huge complex about my weight. Hence the eating disorder, and the fact that I obsess about my weight while shoving a handful of chips and salsa into my mouth (my favorite snack). Without going into great detail about the people who have attributed to my complex, I will say that I entertain the pressures that they put on me to stay thin. This has been going on my entire life and it started just the same way that the little girl at the gym's weight-issue complex is going to start. Why in the world would she even feel the need to comment on her weight? It made me so incredibly sad for her and the path that she is heading down. At this point, the only person who can fix that is her mom, and her mom isn't doing a very good job at that. I just hope she realizes that size and weight isn't everything before she forms her own eating disorder.

Now that I've thoroughly bummed myself out. To add a little hope to this blog post...

Although I'm working toward losing some extra poundage, and I have my areas that I'm focusing on, I'm happy with my weight and my body. The fact that I've managed to stay fairly fit after almost a year of inactivity is incredible. And I did not stay away from food. In fact, I think I upped my serving portions, despite knowing that it wasn't the best idea for someone who wasn't moving much. We all have hangups about our bodies. I don't like this. I don't like that. My solution? Find a place in your house to hang a mirror that lights you from above and behind. I've found that place. It's in my bedroom. When I look at myself in that mirror, I'm the most gorgeous person I've ever seen. And I look like I'm sporting 6-pack abs. I just make sure that that is the last mirror I look in every morning, because if I leave it up to the bathroom mirror, I'm doomed.

My point in writing this blog post, is to share that everyone has issues with aspects of themselves. And the conversation between a mother and her daughter this evening, at the gym no less, really hit a chord. I've had people tell me that they hate me because I'm too skinny. And I've had people tell me that I'm getting a little thick around the middle and need to lose weight. I've also had people tell me that my boobs look awesome when I gain weight. At 34-years-old, I am here to say that that shit never goes away. People discuss your body because they're not happy with their own. Do your best to be in love with your own body. Once you can do that, you realize that you do look damn fine in that rockin' pair of jeans. And forget about the people who lead you to believe otherwise, why the hell should their opinion matter anyway?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Somersaults

I have been inspired to write tonight. My opportunities for writing have been hiding and tonight, I'm crawling in and chasing them down, so that I can have even just a few minutes to put thoughts on paper the internet. As I sit here trying to figure out just what to write, my cat sneaks onto a chair behind me and my dog nudges my elbow with his cold, wet nose. A second cat walks into the room and I understand why the first one was sneaking around - she didn't want to be seen, she only wants to sit in peace. I am like that cat. I don't want to be seen by anyone right now, I just want to sit in peace. Sit in peace and try to pull my thoughts together into something worth reading. Something worth writing about. Something that I can publicly share without dooming myself to be one of THOSE people who will delete whole blog posts because she probably should have considered the ramifications of what might happen should someone, who's not supposed to, read this blog. Oh. Wait.

This year is coming to a crashing end, only to open up again in a weeks' time and present new opportunities to succeed and fuck shit up. All at the same time, mind you. This has been my 2014. And 2015 is just around the corner.

That's the funny thing about these years. They always move forward. Or maybe that's the funny thing about time. It is constantly moving forward only to leave moments in the past. There it went again. The past. It's gone now. And so is my hope of writing something funny or profound.

Let's try this again...

I was talking to a friend today about school and sports and I was reminded of the time I tried out for the girl's softball team. I was in seventh, maybe eighth, grade. I wore a dress. It was the first day of school! What did you expect? Actually, my mom told me to wear a dress and look like a lady and my dad said, "you should try out for the softball team." So, that day, I did both. I wore a dress and tried out for the softball team. While I had never played softball in my life, I did play baseball with my brothers and my dad, and I even knew how to keep score for the games. I got out on the field with my glove, because for some reason I walked around with my glove even though I didn't play, and tried to catch some balls. I think that's called fielding? I don't know.

I missed most of the balls that came my way and I was really feeling the pressure to prove that the girl in the damn dress could play ball as well as the rest of the girls on the field, so I got ready for the catch of my life. I squatted in the field, hands and glove at the ready, and watched the ball come toward me. I kept my eyes on that ball, just like my dad taught me, and I jumped to reach it. I'm pretty sure I caught it, but at the same time I did a backwards somersault and landed in the grass, dress and legs askew, panting and looking around for the ball. I could have sworn that thing ended up in my glove. It didn't. I have no idea where it landed.

Needless to say, I did not make the softball team, nor did I ever try out again. I did manage to snag a spot on the junior varsity gymnastics team based on my awesome somersault skillz, but had to quit that when I "became a woman," because I was only allowed to wear certain feminine products, and you can't wear those with a leotard. Yeah, that's an entirely different story that I may, or may not, ever write about.

I grew up in a very sporty family. Both my brothers played baseball and soccer, and my sister and youngest brother both played basketball. I tried. I really did, but I just didn't have it in me. Instead, I turned to the arts and followed my dreams. I'm still chasing those dreams, and every day I feel as though I get a little closer. And who knows, maybe every day is a dream. But as I leave 2014 behind and head into 2015, and my 35th year of birth (oh seriously not liking that number), I realize that I am fortunate to have experienced all those past moments. To fall in a dress in the middle of a softball field at the tender age of 13, or 14. That's huge! That changes the course of someone's life! And it also taught me to only wear dresses on special occasions, like never.

Hmmm.... that exercise of forcing myself to sit down and write proved to be of some benefit. I may not have written what I'll never get the opportunity to write, but I wrote something and I feel a bit lighter for it. Although I'm a day behind, blessed Solstice and may the returning light bless you with peace, happiness, and good fortune. Namaste.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Adventures in Healing: ONE year anniversary

December 4th approaches with mixed emotion. It will be a year since I fell on ice and broke my ankle. A year since my life changed. A year since I became a different person. I love that my injury changed my life in such amazing ways, and at the same time, I hate that it changed my life. No matter how hard I try, I still walk with a limp. It goes unnoticed by anyone but me. I can see it when I watch myself walk in front of a camera and I can feel it every time my foot hits the ground. At the same time, I can use it to my advantage - it is just an interesting part of me now, an aspect of my life and my body. Not only has it changed me physically, it has also changed me mentally. All it takes is closing my eyes, or walking past the spot I fell, to be thrown back to that evening. To see my foot hanging off my leg. To feel the pain and watch my dog frantically run circles around me in the dark. My heart skips a beat every time I think about it, while at the same time I yearn for the surgery following my fall where I had the deepest sleep I've ever had in my entire life. To wake up and not know where the hell you are... that's bliss... and if I'm lucky, I never have to experience it again.

Life-changing moments in time are what life is made of. Any moment can be life-changing and any moment can be a mundane aspect of a truly unspectacular life. It all depends on how we look at it.

On Thursday, November 27, 2014, I ran my first 5K since breaking my ankle. I was told that I would not be able to run for an entire year. Well, guess what? I broke that by running one week before my anniversary. I ran a 5K and I didn't stop to walk for a single moment. That road, that run, was all mine. I kept telling myself, "Eyes on the Prize," in some weird 80's fashion. What prize? The prize of knowing I could do it.

The morning of that 5K I woke up ecstatic. I couldn't contain myself knowing that I would be running my first full 5K. Oh, I'd attempted running a 5K in the past, but at some point during that run, I had always stopped to walk for a bit. I kept telling myself, "There's no shame in walking." And I inherently knew that. I still know that. There is absolutely no shame in walking, but my body wouldn't let me stop. My body and my mind, kept me moving. It was a slow run, but it was running none-the-less and as I crossed that finish line every aspect of my being sang out. I wanted to cry, but was too overwhelmed to even do that. The finish line was the most beautiful thing I had seen in a year, and it was all mine. I crossed it, while strangers cheered me on and scared my dog. I crossed it before I was supposed to.

Life is like that 5K. Life is like this past year. I was given the opportunity to start over, to experience life with some of that new joy that (in my opinion) only children get to experience. The joy of taking your first step. The joy of finally removing those crutches from under your armpits. The joy of doing something by yourself. The joy of doing something for the first time. The joy of being independent.

This past year has been a whirlwind of amazing accomplishments and devastating failures. Prior to falling and breaking my ankle, I wanted a change. I wanted life to lead me. I wanted something to happen that would change my life forever. Be careful what you wish for. I got all of that and more. And even today, just a few days before my one-year anniversary, I am reminded minute by minute that our wishes do come true and life is ours for the taking. No regrets.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Adventures in Healing: It Should Have Happened Then

It was a warm spring day in 1994, in a small town in Washington. I was in ninth grade, second period P.E., running to first base after I swung the bat and actually connected with the ball. I knew how to play baseball, both my brothers were on teams and I was their scorekeeper. I KNEW baseball and I knew how to play, hitting the ball was an added bonus. My eyes were on the ball as I watched it fly past the second baseman and I knew I could still make it to first. My left foot hit the base as I attempted to round it and run for second, when my ankle snapped and down I went. That was the first time I had an ankle injury. Our P.E. teacher had to carry me off the field and did his best to convince me to go to the nurses office, but I told him no.

"I'm fine, it's not a big deal. It just hurts a little," I told him. Besides, I'm pretty sure I had some big test that day, or something, that I just couldn't miss. I had also been told by my mom that I had to stop crying wolf every time something happened to me. I was, as they still call me, the drama queen.

My left ankle swelled up to the size of the baseball I'd hit earlier, and I took off my shoe and continued throughout the day hopping on my right foot. I hopped from class to class with a shoe in one hand and my backpack slung from my shoulder. Eventually, someone (I can't remember who) convinced me to go to the nurses office and they immediately called my mom. She arrived, looked at my ankle and asked why I didn't call her sooner. I looked at her with knowing eyes that said, "because you told me not to," but all I said was, "I didn't think it was that big of a deal."

It turned out that I had strained my ankle and tore some ligaments. They put me in an air cast that I had to wear for a few weeks and crutches. I felt pretty cool and it was especially awesome that I got to skip out on P.E. That was always my least favorite subject. It was then, back in good old 1994, that I should have broken my ankle. It was then, that I should have had to deal with all the bullshit that comes with healing from something like this.

I was young, I lived across the street from my junior high school, I would have healed a lot faster, and I was incapable of gaining weight. There, I said it. Due to my inactivity, I am gaining weight and it's pissing me off. I ran not only because I enjoyed it, but to stay in shape. I can still lift weights, but it's the cardio that really keeps me going. I've started taking a water fitness class twice a week, which is really good for physical therapy and for activity, but it's not running. Each class is an hour long and if I weren't in the water I'm sure I'd be sweating. It's hard work and I really enjoy it, and it is helping to keep the weight in check, but I just can't shake the fact that I'm in my 30's and this injury is really weighing on me. (heheh, that was not intentional.)

If I had broken my ankle 20 years ago, I probably also wouldn't be dealing with the issues I'm having with my Achilles Tendon. I asked my physical therapist if I'm progress at a "normal" rate, or at least as well as someone in my condition should be. She told me that for the most part, I'm progressing just fine, but my Achilles Tendon should have been stretched out weeks ago. If I'm standing, I can't bend my knee - that's how tight my Achilles Tendon is. It is crazy how everything in the body is connected and this one THING can prevent your entire leg from moving correctly.

Things are progressing, but I bet that if this had happened when I was 14, not 33, I'd be a lot further along. If there's one thing that incident in ninth grade did prepare me for, it's that I know when an ankle is just strained and I know when it is broken. It was definitely broken this time and I didn't wait to see a nurse, but I did wait to call my mom until after I was out of the ER and high as a kite off of morphine. That was a fun phone call, right before I puked in the car.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Moments in Time

"My memories are all I have."

Her words hung in the air, heavy with meaning, providing me with silence and perspective. She went on to remind me to experience bliss and love and not to live a single day in hatred. She has a lot of regrets, most of which she cannot amend. Either due to age and health issues, or time. Time does not heal all wounds.

I travel within 20 miles of her at least twice a year and never take time to see her. "I rented an apartment with an extra room, just so you have a place to stay when you come visit me." I've never taken her up on her offer. It is not a chore to see my grandmother, but in the days of technology and fast-paced everything, visiting with a woman who spends every evening sipping wine on her porch and watching the humming birds fly by, feels like something I just don't have time for.

Yet, when she tells me about her humming birds and how they visit her every evening, all I want is to experience that same thing. Yes, experience it with her, but also experience it on my own back porch. I ask myself, when was the last time I just sat and watched the birds fly by? When was the last time I had a glass of wine on my porch? That answer would be never, because I don't drink wine, but the last time I had a beer or mojito on my porch was too long ago. My porch lays dormant. Will this be something I regret, just like my grandmother?

This is my mother's mother. A woman I lived with, and shared a bed with, when I was in elementary school. My family had just moved to Washington from Hawai'i and the only place we could live was in my Grams' house. It was a three bedroom, ranch-style home. There were six of us and my Grandma. Maybe there were only two rooms, but something about that house and that situation prevented my sister and I from having our own room for a while. We slept in the same bed with my Grams and she would lull us to sleep every night with her snoring. She ate onions because they make your skin healthy. She brushed her teeth, but that didn't get rid of the onion smell. She loved us then and she loves us now. All she has are her memories.

In October of last year, I went back to Oahu, Hawai'i for my cousin's wedding. I hadn't seen my dad's parents in over three years. A few months prior to our trip to Oahu, my husband and I took a trip to the Big Island, it was our non-family related vacation. The first we'd taken in a while. A couple weeks after that trip, my dad told me that Tutu (my dad's mother) thought I was angry at her. I asked him why. "Because you neva' went visit her on da island," he said.

"Dad, I couldn't! We went to the Big Island. Tutu lives on Oahu," I said.

"I know that, but your Tutu doesn't care. You were in the same state and you didn't visit her. She thinks you're mad at them."

When I saw my Tutu and Papa at my cousin's wedding in October, all I could do was hug them and hold back tears. I was never mad at my grandparents, I just didn't have time to visit them earlier that year. Tutu knows me, but my Papa is suffering from dementia. It comes and goes and he was good at my cousin's wedding. He recognized me at first and we held hands for a long time. Occasionally he would have to ask me who my dad was.

"Who's your dad?"

"My dad is your oldest son, Papa."

"Okay. Who's your dad?"

"He's right there, Papa," I would tell him and point in the direction of my dad.

"Who are you?"

"I'm your oldest grandchild."

"I remember you."

A couple days after the wedding, we took a trip to our family cemetery. Papa came with us. This cemetery is the last remaining land on Oahu that belongs to our family. All our ancestors are buried here. He looked at the gravestones and a wash of understanding and memories flooded his face. We could all see it. My sister grabbed my arm and said, "look at Papa."

"I know," I told her. And I did know. Something about the place brought back his memories. He told us the story of our first ancestor to ever step foot on Hawai'i, who married a Hawaiian woman, and how we all came from the land.

As our grandparents age and life reminds us how fragile it truly is, we are still so busy going from meeting to meeting, home to work, to grocery store, to our social obligations. We rarely take time to watch the humming birds, or remind ourselves of where we came from. In the end, memories are all any of us will have. Some memories will be clear as day, some will be hazy and jolted, some may never return.

In 2000, my grandfather, my mom's dad, passed away. I was the only family member who didn't go see him one last time before he passed. The only time I ever met my grandfather was in 1984, when I was four years old and my family took a trip to Arkansas. When everyone went to visit him in 1999, I was too busy working. I was in love with my job - at only 19 years old I ask myself how I could have been in love with my job, but I was - and I chose my job over seeing my grandfather for the second and last time. I regretted it for many years. Now, 14 years later, I realize that I don't regret it. I have my memories of him and his lush Arkansas garden, his bee hives, and his jovial demeanor.

We constantly push and fight with life over our time. "I don't have time," slips out of our mouths more often than we'd like to admit. I do my best to change my words and not use that phrase, but it all means the same thing. Our grandparents have their memories. Wouldn't it be nice to have our own?

I want to slow down, but I like the fast pace of my life. There needs to be a balance and I need to visit my grandparents more. Time can be our friend, we just need to understand how to use it to our advantage. Life and love and memories and family, friends and travel and work and art. These can all share moments in time.

Now, where is my bottle of wine? I want to spend time on my porch.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Adventures in Healing: There is a Foot Attached to my Body

Dental Assistant to Me: I'm glad you were able to make it in for your six month cleaning considering your situation.

Me: Are you kidding me? This was the most fun I've had all week!

Yes, I had fun at the dentist. While you're sitting in their chair getting your teeth cleaned, you also have the option to dip your hands in wax for nice soft results, and get a chair massage. I really do love going to the dentist, but yesterday's trip was even more special because I got out of the house. It has been snowing all morning and it is predicted to continue falling through Friday. It is beautiful, but that also means that I can't leave the house much at all.

Every night of the week, after we both finish working, Husband and I take Frodo for a walk. Frodo pulls me in my Delorean, while Husband walks beside us. Frodo LOVES it, but with snow covered streets, I am unable to participate. The guys regale me with their stories of hunting squirrels and catching up on the news from the other dogs in the neighborhood when I can't join them. Since December, a lot of my excitement has come from hearing stories of all the fun things other people are doing. It's a very different way to live, but it is allowing me to see the world through their eyes. I'm also becoming a better listener. There's not much I can say in return - not too many things I'm able to do - so my listening skills are now top notch.

We've upped my physical therapy to twice a week now and let me tell you: I have never felt pain like this. My ankle is just a constant throbbing ball of uncomfortable pain and my fibula, well, let's just say that I didn't realize you could actually feel pain in your bone. What my physical therapist is doing to me is verging on torture, but she's doing it for my own good. I just have to keep reminding myself that I want to walk again whenever I feel like kicking her in the face with my good foot, while she's massaging out all the tight tendons in my right foot. I think she wants me to walk as badly as I want to walk.

As of Monday, she has me hobbling around the house without crutches. THIS IS HUGE NEWS! But I also think that's why my ankle hurts so badly. I can "walk" (in my boot of course, no barefoot or shoes yet) to the bathroom and around the kitchen, but I still have to crutch when I leave the house. Last night, I was walking around the bedroom picking out some socks when Frodo looked at me with a look of bizarre concern. We made eye contact and you could see the confusion and fear creeping into his eyes. I took a few more steps and realized what his problem was. I sound like a zombie! I really do. BOOM with the booted foot, silence with the healthy foot. BOOM! Silence. BOOM! Silence. No wonder the animals go running when I come hobbling down the hallway. The fact that I keep my arms extended away from my body so I don't lose my balance probably doesn't help the look of the situation. I look forward to the day when I no longer have to wear this boot and my babies stop running from me. And I can go outside and play in the snow.

To update the status of moving my foot from my first day of physical therapy... Things are getting better. I can curl my small toes, and my big toe is making progress. It can move, but it cannot curl. This results in breakdowns on Sunday afternoons. Yes, I cry. Not out of pain, but out of frustration. Sunday is the only day I allow myself to cry - the rest of the week I'm too busy. My foot simply does not want to move like a normal foot. I think my physical therapist is getting frustrated because it's not moving. I'M getting frustrated because it's not moving. I'm working so hard on trying to get it to move that I actually have my foot out of the boot as I'm typing this, trying to move it up and down. We'll (me and my foot) will get there eventually.

I started reading a book that Husband bought me years ago when we worked from home. I'm one of those collectors of books that I want to eventually read. I believe that time will tell me when my soul, mind, body, and/or emotions need me to read a book. I have shelves of books that I haven't needed to read yet, but are waiting for the right time. This particular book, I pulled off the shelf a few days after I broke my ankle. It's been sitting near me, no matter what room I end up in, every day. Yesterday, while waiting for Husband to get his teeth cleaned, I opened the book and started reading. Now I know why I waited.

From "New Chakra Healing, Activate your 32 Energy Centers," by Cyndi Dale:

While the divisions between our body and mind are distinct at a superficial level, at another, deeper level these distinctions blur. For example, our body may hold, reflect, or act out that which is being experienced by the mind. When healing one part of someone, such as a broken leg, we are also indirectly making a change on all other levels, say the mind or soul. Fixing this leg might require the participation of feelings, thoughts, and spirit if it is to really work. If our mind says, "Let's stay sick. I like taking time off work," the broken leg will certainly be a long time mending.

This mind/body connection has recently received considerable documentation. One recent study has determined that the key ingredient in healing from broken bones is not as scientifically based as we might assume. Is it the quality of care, the ability of the doctor, or the speed of the bone setting? No, the most crucial recovery factor is whether or not someone likes his or her job. (This fact has been documented through studies available at the Northwestern College of Chiropractic in Bloomington, Minnesota.) Non-Western and ancient cultures have long known about the power of the mind, often adding a soul connection to the mind/body link.

Hmmm... Again, I say hmmm... I would definitely rather be doing something else with my life. But wouldn't we all?

So, my healing continues as I try like hell to get my foot to move again and work through the pain as I zombie walk around the house. Healing is happening and I still hold to my goal of walking without a boot by my 34th birthday.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Adventures in Healing: Therapy, Physical and Mental

Since this past Thursday, my life has been filled with therapy. On the physical side, I saw a physical therapist for the first time on Thursday afternoon. I really like my physical therapist and I'm looking forward to spending afternoons with her trying to get my foot to move. She's funny, interesting (she's climbed Mt. Rainier), and she knows how to challenge me to move. All of this after one hour-and-a-half session. They're not supposed to be that long, but she wanted to see what I am currently capable of. She put me on a stationary bike and I rode for 10 minutes, going one full mile. It felt so good to get my right leg moving again. This progress is promising, but there are things that I can't do and it frustrates the shit out of me.

I would like all of you to try an experiment with me. Sit on a chair, or bed, or Delorean, with your knees at a 90 degree angle. Place an old towel under your feet and try to scrunch the towel with your toes. Don't move your feet. Just using your toes, try to gather the towel. Pretty simple right? I mean, it's a little difficult, but it's the same type of movement you would use to pick up a pencil that you may have dropped when your skirt is just a little to short to actually allow you to bend over and pick it up, so you have to use your toes.

That movement, the act of wiggling your toes... I can't do that. My left toes can, no problem. But my right toes don't want to move. I can stare at them and I can yell at them and I can use The Force, but they still don't move. They can't. They have forgotten how. It is as if the tendons have fallen asleep and stiffened and need woken up and massaged again. When I do move my toe, my big toe in particular, a searing pain shoots up the back of my leg from my Achilles tendon. The first time it happened at my physical therapy session, I yelled so loud that I scared both myself and my therapist. All we could do was laugh for three minutes straight. It hurt, but it was funny. My brain wanted so badly to move that damn toe, but it couldn't. And when it finally did it shocked my entire body from toe to head.

It's kind of like this... http://www.miramax.com/watch?v=ljMjZyZDqY2nCeRVUVuDDsKcCDerL0YK

That's the physical side of my therapy. I am going once a week for the month of January, then when I get more movement in my foot, I will go more often. My goal is to be walking by my birthday, March 27th. I can do this.

The mental and emotional side of my therapy:

As I've written before, I am using my down time to write. I put aside my novel for a couple of weeks to work on a screenplay that I've been writing and re-drafting and re-writing since 2011. It has gone through numerous small rewrites, and four large ones, where I did an entire overhaul and replaced everything with new scenarios, dialog, and even characters. I had planned on rewriting this baby this year, but not until late winter/early spring. AFTER I had finished my novel. But along came a screenwriting competition and after a week of thinking about it, I decided to just go for it. So, for two weeks I have been working on the fourth draft of my screenplay. And tonight, after allowing Husband and two friends to read it, I submitted it to the competition.

As soon as I hit the submit button I started to cry. This story is something that is very dear to my heart and I have had an incredibly difficult time writing it the way that it needs written. I was afraid of the story and afraid to see the depths that it could take me. But with the help of my characters, my husband, and my friends urging me forward, I finally completed my script. It's not perfect - nothing can ever be perfect. But it is done.

I have never submitted a feature length screenplay to any sort of competition. We've submitted numerous film projects to competitions, but those are COMPLETED FILMS. Not just the written words on a page. The emotional roller coaster that came with the subject content and the fact that I did something more with this script than I've ever done with any other feature length script has thrown my entire mind into a frenzy. I am so grateful that it is done, because now I can get back to my novel; the story that is writing itself. I no longer have to think about the lives of these very real people whom I have just given the opportunity to shine in front of academy award nominated judges. Yeah. I'm not nervous or anything. My characters can carry this script, I have no doubt about it.

It's not about winning, although that would be nice, it is about completing something and challenging myself to do something with that completed project. Too many days and hours go by that I work on things only to see them slip into oblivion unread and unwatched by anyone, but myself. If you don't plan on doing something with your art, why even start working on it? Even if that something is to hang it in your bedroom, at least that is something. I completed a feature length screenplay. I submitted it to a competition. Tomorrow, I get back to my novel. And on Thursday? I attempt to move my toe again for my physical therapist, hoping that the work I've been doing twice a day will have paid off.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Adventures in Healing: Still Healing

The callus that I worked so hard to create has finally fallen off of my bum foot. I was drying my foot after my shower tonight and the sucker just fell right off. I guess a little over a month of inactivity and the callus decided that it wasn't going to be needed any longer. I prided myself on my running calluses. At the beginning of summer every year, a friend and I get pedicures. Last year, the guy tried to remove my calluses and I had to tell him "no! I need those for running!" Also, his scrubbing was hurting something awful.

My stitches were removed on December 24th, and in their place, the nurses put stitch-stickers across my stitch sites. I'm not sure the medical term for them, but they were similar to bandages, or butterfly bandaids, that were made to help keep my leg from busting open. I finally removed those earlier this week and am now touching my bare stitch sites when I shower. There is nothing between my fingers and my stitch sites except some long leg hair that I am unable to shave. The sites feel weird. There is still some puckering in some areas and they feel a bit numb to the touch. But my scars are turning a nice shade of red and the dry skin around it is finally getting some moisture. Wow, does it feel good to lather vitamin E oil and lotion on my leg and foot. I already have incredibly dry skin, so not being able to put anything on those stitch sites and the areas around them for that long was really rubbing me raw. Now, I can find comfort in a nice after-shower oil and lotion massage brought to myself by myself truly.

We were able to make it to the gym three days in a row this week! It feels so wonderful to get out of the house for a couple hours at night and vent all frustrations on the track and on those machines. A lot of the gym rats give me dirty looks because I'm using a machine that they would like to use, but I have to remind myself that they did that even when I wasn't in a wheelchair. I'm sure the people running on the track also find my presence a bit infuriating, but my question to them is: Would you be out here if you broke your leg? I think not. Most people ignore me, but there are some who think they can walk faster than I can roll and try to beat me around a corner until they find themselves getting cut off and looking like a fool. I have every right to be there - I pay too.

I'm becoming a bit more mobile, but I'm still on my crutches or in my wheelchair. Pressure is not allowed on my foot yet, so I'm finding creative ways to get around. Such as crab walking myself down the stairs so I can stare at the rooms I hardly see. I've also gone outside and stood on the back deck in the afternoon for the last two days. It snowed on Tuesday night, so Husband and I went out back to throw the ball for Frodo the dog. We stand on the deck and throw the ball down to him and watch him run, and run, and run circles around the yard. Laughter is had by all. Tonight, when I let him out to potty, he didn't come back so I had to call him. I looked into the yard and there he was standing under the deck looking at me expectantly. Ball throwing and running knows no time.

My next appointment will be on Tuesday where I'll get more x-rays and hopefully find out when I can start putting pressure on my foot. This healing process is a long one and sitting has become incredibly boring, but I keep myself busy with writing (and of course work, 40 hours a week), playing with the animals, and visiting with friends who bring me beer and/or chocolate. I have good friends.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Adventures in Healing: One Month Later

It has been a month since I made the decision to go running and subsequently fell and broke my leg and ankle. I'm not counting the days, or anything, but I kind of am. When you're stuck in a chair, my Delorean if you will, for the majority of the day moving only to relieve yourself, or let the dog out to relieve himself, you form the urge to scratch lines in the wall. This last week has been tough on me. I'm having a difficult time sleeping and every time I lay my head down thoughts of the moment I fell and the following three days, including surgery, bombard my brain. I see myself sitting on the pavement in the middle of the street looking at my foot dangling from my leg. I see myself lying in the hospital getting pumped with drugs and a block in my leg so I can't feel pain. I've been asking Husband about the ER visit and how horrifying it really was. He said that it was simultaneously the most scary and awesome thing he'd ever seen. If he wasn't so convinced that I was going to die right there in the ER, he would have taken video because shit was crazy. I don't remember any of it.

I can't tell if the pain in my ankle is getting worse, or I'm just feeling it more because I'm weening myself off of my pain medication. I need to stay on top of the pain, and sometimes I just don't do a very good job at it. I used to say I liked pain. I do not know where the hell that idea came from, and now, I take it back. Pain is the pits and every part of my body hurts with this injury.

On my one month anniversary, we took the Delorean out for a spin on the Boise River Greenbelt. We walked, I rolled, the equivalent of a 5k with our friends and their two dogs - Frodo's DFFs (Dog Friends Forever). Some good conversation was had today and the pups wore themselves out.

I have been working more on my "novel," and things are going swimmingly. I put quotes around the word novel because I don't really know what it is yet, nor do I really know what constitutes a work of writing as a novel. It's already quite long, 27 pages, 10,114 words, but as I continue I realize that I've only begun my story. I am writing in a voice that I never even realized I had. My characters are like none I've ever envisioned, and the story-line is from something other than me. I can honestly say that this book, or novel, is out of this world.

In the past I've outlined books that I want to write, and I've started stories that I think I want to tell. But they never get very far. It is not for lack of trying, but it is for the fact that I just lose interest. My life moves so quickly that I don't have the patience to spend writing something that I don't really believe in. I might believe in what I'm writing for the first few weeks, even the first few months, but after a while I just don't believe in what I'm trying to say, so I stop. I don't want to waste my precious time on a story that I don't feel needs to be told.

This particular writing, however, is very different. There is no outline, no thought to what I'm writing about or where I'm going, I just sit down and let the words pour out of my fingertips. My words and my thoughts are coming easily - I've never been able to write this quickly. This story has depth and meaning to me and I am get carried away by the details of this world. The genre I'm writing could be considered sci-fi, which I didn't realize I had such an affinity for until now. I can thank my dad for starting me down the path of enjoying sci-fi and my husband for keeping me on that path. My dad introduced me to the Alien series and Star Wars, and Husband kept me going with Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. My writing makes me feel like singing and that is a rare gift indeed.

I'm unsure as to where this book will lead me (in life) and right now, I really don't care. I get excited about sitting down to work on it and I'd rather write than do much else with my day. With my new found love for this book without a title, I could never curse the night I fell. Although it is difficult to watch my friends hit the slopes (I haven't even had the desire to snowboard since I was 18 - that's over 15 years ago), I'm thankful that I have something to distract me and help me fill my time. Doesn't it always seem that what you can't have, you want more even though you never wanted it in the first place? I'm talking about missing snowboarding.

Life is an adventure and I hope that someday I can share my new adventure with the world. Until then, I will continue to write and see where these words take me.