About Me

My photo
"Live life in such a way that every day when your feet hit the floor the devil says 'OH SHIT SHE'S UP!'"

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The little things

The other day was seemingly the same mundane commute home on the train. Since I was still in my boot and on crutches I had to take the elevator. I stepped into the elevator. Then I saw some commotion and watched a few people swipe cards on the card reader. I heard "75 cents, oh 25 cents, what did you have?" as I held the elevator door open. Next thing I knew three people crowd in with me. And when I say crowd in, I mean crowd. Completely violating the standard Seattle elevator space tolerance. They were right up against me in a very large elevator.

There was something immediately distinct with the trio. They were not standard commuters. The little older gray haired woman smiled a somewhat toothless smile. The skinny young man was very talkative. And the older gentleman was pushing a small cart/suitcase type thing. Before the door shut the older man said to me, "what did you do?" as he looked at my crutches and boot. I said, "a stress fracture." He grimaced, "oh a break, huh?" Immediately, the skinny young man gasped and said "oh my goodness! Did I step on you and break your foot?" I chuckled, that nervous laugh. (What in the world?) Okay. Assessment. The older man had some sense. The younger one, not working with a full deck. Okay. I could handle this. The older woman turned to me grinning her nearly toothless grin. "What did you do, honey?" I repeated it again. "Oh my, what's that?" Now mind you, the elevator goes down one level. That's it. Within 25 seconds I have this family nearly crushing me. Trying to understand me. I believed that if the woman could have petted me, she would have. Within another 25 seconds, we exited the elevator (thankfully.)  I asked them if they were taking the Sounder. "Yes," said the young man, "it's my treat. We've never been on a train before and we are going to Everett."  I explained that the train on the right is the one to Everett. Secretly relieved they weren't going to Tacoma. I was not in a very friendly or cordial mood.

Again the woman asked me, "what did you do honey? Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness." I tell her again, "stress fracture." She smiled that grin and again almost pawed at me. I slowly moved with my crutches as I watched the two men start to move ahead. She tried to stay with me but knew she needed to catch up with the other two. I released her by saying, "go on ahead and have a great trip!" I smiled as much as I could to reassure her I was okay. She rejoined her family as I continued to make my way to my train.

It was then I saw it. Their sheer wonder and delight at the size of the train and at the height of the train engine. Trying to explore and absorb every single detail of this monstrosity of a machine. I smiled a smile that came from deep down of bottom of my toes and up through my body. It warmed my heart and softened that hardness that had been consuming me for weeks now.

The little things. They saw wonder and joy of my daily commute vehicle. They experienced awe and excitement of my somewhat mundane method of transportation. How much in life do I take for granted? How many experiences do I not look at through the eyes of wonder and amazement. I realize I can't possibly do that for everything. But I think perhaps the more important lesson here is to understand that we are not all the same. We see differently. We love differently. We laugh differently. But we see. We love. And we laugh. It is within our differences that wonder, joy, amazement, awe and beauty are discovered. When my heart warmed and shell softened, I saw life in its simplest form. I saw love of a family. I saw kindness of strangers. I saw joy shared. I saw that my temporary hassle of crutches is nothing. That I need to look beyond the inconvenience and enjoy life. For I never know when that wondrous discovery might happen for me.

Post-script. As I sat down in my seat, I felt a sense of panic. Oh no! What if they were planning to come back to Seattle tonight?! They can't. There is no return train in the evenings. It was then that I placed them into the hands of fate. Someone kind will help them. Of that I was sure.  I may never see them again. But I do know that the lesson I learned that day will never leave me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

And the verdict is...

A stress fracture. What was beneath my skin was a stress fracture. Ask a question and you damn well better be prepared for the answer. The answer. 4 weeks in an air cast that makes me look more like a reject Storm Trooper than an ailing Runner. Ah well. Such is life.

The strange part. I've made peace (as much as I can) with the idea of not running for a while. What is frustrating and exhausting is the inability to use my hands for much. Take for instance opening doors. I have to juggle the crutches into one hand and hopefully push with the other. That is if I can get my angle just right. I'm currently learning the limitations of what it means to try to push a door open and put my hip into it as well. Graceful I'm not. I've never claimed to be, but damn. This is clumsiness to the nth degree.

What have I learned thus far?

  1. I can reallocate my running time into my writing time. 
  2. That the thought of swimming seems 10 times more hassle than running even though both require I leave my home and return to get a shower.  
  3. To be creative with my daily work tasks like washing my cups and such. 
  4. To stop being ashamed at the clunking my waterbottle makes as I hobble over to the sink. 
  5. That friends encourage, acquaintances care and strangers extend their hearts in a myriad of ways. 
  6. To be humble as I slink over to Mike's cube to ask him to help me with my morning cup of coffee. As a friend said today, "you learn to figure out what's really important." And you better believe it that my morning cup of coffee (or tea) is on that list.  
  7. My kids aren't nearly as independent as I had hoped at this point. (Is it too much to ask them to wash the dishes, too?)  
  8. That folding laundry while sitting on my bed isn't as bad as I thought it might be. 
  9. I'm a lunatic when it comes to running. The bug has bit me hard and it won't let go. I will be out on the race course again. 
  10. To be grateful for the smallest, kindest acts. Such as today. I was struggling down the stairs and a very kind co-worker (whom I never met before) not only held the door for me, he patiently waited till I got myself rearranged after going down three stairs. 
  11. I work in a damn big building, that the elevators are an eternity away and the bathrooms even further.
  12. That I (when on two feet) am normally a speed demon - racing from this meeting to that or this printer to that ice machine. 
  13. That being patient with myself is a real challenge. Perhaps the most difficult lesson. I am not patient. I am not kind to myself. I am not satisfied with supposed failure. 
  14. I truly truly truly rely on running as a stress relief and that I'm at a total loss to find a substitute while I'm motoring around on one foot. 
  15. I'm stronger (physically) than I realized. For which I am tremendously grateful. I can't imagine trying to get around on crutches without some semblance of upper body strength (thank goodness I did push ups!)  
  16. That while I think I can do this all on my own - I really can't. 
  17. I'm blessed with people who love me, who care for and about me, who want the best for me, who aren't afraid to throw that mirror in my face and say take it easy, who help me find that stress relief no matter how small or seemingly impossible. 
  18. I still have goals, that it isn't the end of the world and that when under extreme pressure, I can adjust. Never accept. Adjust. 

I've learned a lot. And I will continue to do so. While Run. Write. Dream. BE. isn't necessarily translating the way I envisioned. I believe wholeheartedly that it is translating. Perhaps Run is not physical. Perhaps Write is not viewable. Perhaps Dream is not mental. Perhaps BE is not what I understand. Perhaps. Just perhaps. There is some scrambling that needs to occur. Run becomes mental. Write becomes understandable, and so on and so forth. Regardless, I'm growing. And well, isn't that the whole point of a New Year's Resolution?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What lies beneath...

I am sitting here. Yet again. With ice on my ankle. No. Not because I love to torture myself with freezing my ankle continuously. I have no idea what I did to my ankle. I don't even have a great juicy story to describe or justify why I'm in this stupid boot and stationary with ice.
Can you tell I'm frustrated? Can you tell I'm fed up? Can you tell the novelty of wearing this damn boot has worn off?
I miss running. I miss it desperately. I miss walking up the stairs to the 9th floor at work. I miss being able to run down the hall to grab something from the kitchen. I miss walking outside for any distance.
I'm struggling at the moment. I know there are many who have life far far worse than I . But. Yet. This is my reality at the moment. I rely so heavily on running as my outlet for stress relief and for an avenue to better health. Now I'm stuck. Damn near literally. What can I do? What should I do? I can't bike or walk on a treadmill or do yoga or really anything that requires legs and feet. Not until I know what is wrong with my ankle. I have an MRI on Tuesday. But that feels like eons away. I swam laps once. And while it's a feasible solution since I have something that prevents me from kicking, it's not as freeing and as dare I say beautiful as running. Maybe that is what I miss the most. The freedom. The push. The drive. The discipline. The fluid movements of placing a foot in front of you to push off and put the next one down. The rhythm.
What lies beneath.
I was looking at my ankle last night fascinated. Fascinated by the layer of skin on my body. The layer of skin that keeps all my guts and organs inside of me. The layer of skin that hides the problems, the issues, the diseases, the healing that a part of my body is undergoing. Why? Why is it that we can't see what is beneath our skin easily? Would we worry more? Would we worry less? Would we no longer be human? Does skin protect us from our own sense of self? Obviously, I don't have an answer.
I'm frustrated and bored and tired and edgy and grumpy. Some days it takes every single grain of my will to not scream at a complete stranger. I have begun to ask myself what am I missing? What should I be doing in this time instead? I don't rightly know. Well okay, that's not really true. I know I can read and write and dream and BE more. But honestly some days I don't have the energy to be anything other than a slug. Is that bad? Is that how I cope?
I don't know what is wrong with my ankle. I fear that the MRI will tell me nothing. I'm allowed to fear, right? As long as it doesn't consume me. I can't say I'm flawless - I do let fear consume me. It's just who I am. I try and BE and not worry. But it is damn hard and not intuitive. I know that everything happens for a reason. And some can find grace in transition. I, unfortunately cannot. It's the way I'm wired. It's the way life has come and gone at me, for me, with me.
I don't know if writing this has helped at all. Maybe. I did find some honesty in my words. Some discoveries. Like the fact that I enjoy the freedom that running affords me. That I depend on running for stress relief.
What lies beneath... I should learn this week. What lies within... I'm finding out each day.