They say that you have two choices when faced with a crazy blow that life will sometimes deal you. You can either get bitter and assign blame, pout, get nasty, angry, and stay stuck. Or, you can get better and take responsibility, make a plan of action to rectify/change the situation, and move forward.
What happens is most people initially do get bitter. We’re angry. We ask, “Why?” We look for people to blame. If you stay in this mentality, the situation doesn’t really change. In fact, it may get worse. You could really dig yourself into a hole, or fall into an abyss that’s really hard to climb out of. I know, because I’ve been there and it wasn’t that long ago.
Three years ago, this month, March 28, 2013 to be exact, I blew my left knee out in a freak misstep when performing a move that was shoulder to overhead. I had not lifted that weight before so it was slightly difficult. Initially, I blamed my trainer who told me that the weight was “light” and that I could do it. I didn’t think I could, but I did do it once, so I believed I could do it again. Well, what resulted was me misstepping or landing incorrectly, and the way my foot planted tweaked my knee enough that it completely tore my left meniscus and severely bruised my ACL. I don’t believe that I ever really “healed” from that experience. What do I mean? Well, I know that my knee healed. I had surgery, and they removed my meniscus and I eventually went on to recover and get back to baseline, but my mind never really recovered.
I lost my shit when this happened. I seriously Lost. My. Shit. I was angry. I was depressed. I couldn’t function. I made the mistake of stopping all exercise as suggested by my orthopedist. It made sense because I could not truly bear weight on my left leg, couldn’t squat, blah, blah, blah. This lack of movement proved to be detrimental to my mental health. (You can read about it here.)
I think about how low I fell last time, metaphorically speaking, and I can tell you that I was NOT in a good place. I became very irritable. I gained weight that I have not yet been able to shed. I lost my fitness. And, worst of all, I became suicidal. Seriously, I wanted to die. I just wanted to die. I had become someone that I didn’t recognize. I was lost and frustrated. And even after my knee was repaired, I tried to make my way back into my fitness game, but it was far from the same. Where I once was running 25 miles/week, lifting weights 4-5 times a week, and even kickboxing 2-3 times a week, I was no longer able to workout as I had been. I believed that I would just get right back onto that horse, and what happened was that horse quickly bucked me off and laughed at me right in the face.
This time is a little different because I know what to expect. My plan is to NOT fall into that same abyss that I fell into the last time I injured myself. How do I know it’s different? What am I going to do that’s different? Well …
It’s only been 4 days since I re-injured my knee. I was fatigued during the workout, so when it came time to squat clean 135lbs, I was already tired. I should have passed on attempting to lift it, but on a good day when I’m not fatigued, I can do it. I should have listened to my gut, but, I didn’t. I let my head and my ego get the best of me and I knew that I wanted to try. I only tried once and that was all that it took. It took me down immediately with my knee buckling inward.
I did not try to hide, mask, or pooh-pooh my injury. I cried out in agony, something that I would have never had done in the past. I let others help me. Someone got me ice. My trainer aced wrapped my knee. Last time, I did not seek medical attention. I had an appointment with my Physical Therapist the next day, and he was the one who convinced me to seek medical attention. I was naive in thinking that I would be able to fix and heal myself. This time, I knew what to expect, so I brought myself to the ER and requested an x-ray, then requested an MRI and an orthopedic consult. I had my MRI yesterday. I also immediately started working on the surrounding muscles of my knee by using a muscle stimulator. Along with compression, ice, and the use of my hinged brace has made a huge difference. I really haven’t had much pain. If anything, it’s 3 out of 10 on a 0-10 pain scale, and that’s really only when my knee is unstable and moves laterally. Something that I have already done this time that I never did last time, I reached out to my trainer and explained the consequences I may have if I limit or stop my movement. I asked for workouts that would instead focus on my core and upper body and cardiovascular exercise that would not require the “stabilization” or movement of my lower body, more specifically, my left knee.
I take full responsibility for what happened. I know the risks and benefits of doing the things that I love. I would not be me if I sat back and watched others do the things that I love and did not participate in the activity myself. Quite frankly, I am tired of people telling me, “You know you’re not a youngster anymore. You really should be careful. Maybe you should find another hobby.” Are you kidding me? I know exactly how old I am. And I know what I’m doing. I am doing what I need to do to feel alive, to feel happy, and to live my life. I don’t owe anyone any explanations at all. Like I said, I take full responsibility, and I will continue doing things that I love, that make ME happy, and that make ME feel alive. I’ve watched the video of what/how it happened. It serves me no purpose to keep rehashing and reliving it over and over again. What’s done is done. I can only learn from what’s happened and move forward.
So you can see, I have chosen to not become bitter this time around. I’ve already had my cry in my last blog post. I choose to see it as another learning opportunity. You see, things will continue to happen in your life until you understand the lesson that it is trying to teach you. I cannot yet tell you what the lesson is that I am to learn from all of this. I can tell you that I am open. I know that in order to figure out what’s happening to me on the outside, to understand why this lesson is being brought forth to me again, I must turn inward. I need to seek the answers within myself because the answers are inside of me.
I am different this time around. I am more open and vulnerable this time around, and I am also showing more of my vulnerability without shame. I am attempting to remain calm as I ask others for help, or when I tell my story, and not feel humiliated. I know that people are talking about me, saying things like I was stupid to even attempt that, but that’s their opinion. It’s not the truth. I was not being reckless, I was putting myself out there and doing something that not many women my age do.
I will not fall into the abyss this time around. I have a plan and have already began to institute it and illicit the help of those who love me.
So … Bitter or Better? I say BETTER. My attitude and my outlook are both different this time around. More optimistic, and realistic. I believe that things WILL get better. I believe that I WILL once again be restored and made whole. I believe that I WILL once again run, jump, lift. I believe that I WILL figure it out and healing IS already taking place within me. Things CAN and WILL only get better from here on out.