Tag Archives: Relax

Hiding Out


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I stayed indoors with my fears of falling again and re-injuring or injuring a new body part of mine. I stayed indoors because I live in New York City where the people are wild with busy bodies. I stayed indoors because I realized quickly that the world outside is definitely “lack of movement friendly.” I stayed indoors because it was better than dealing with the antics of and lack of wheelchair or crutch accessibility. I was much safer being in the house, safer being away from obstacles that would love nothing more but to come and test me.

During the moments of going out into the world, I watched and lingered with my eyes on people’s ability to move, walk, jog, sit, jump, ride a skateboard and dance. It looks easy – using two legs to perform. Everything is easier. I wonder, if they understand how awesome it is to be able to move so freely in the world of rapid movement.

I wonder, how many of them were grateful.  Or how many of them like me never even pregnant a thought of having their ankle mobility and such taken away for a limited of time. So, I miss being able to use my ankle in various ways in a very mobile friendly world.

Moving on – everyone has a habit of wanting to tell you what to do with your life and they even go as far as to give unsolicited advice many times because everyone whose not you has the solution to everything, including your broken/displaced ankle. Imagine when all kinds of people – relatives, registered nurses who are connected to friends and the surgeon want to chime in on my life and what decisions I should be making and why I should do this or that.

There were quite a few people who were against me and my obtaining a wheelchair. They said it will limit my body use and I’ll lose my muscles at a quicker rate, not to mention stall the healing of my ankle. I got a wheelchair anyway because this is MY life, not theirs. And if these people have never had the pleasure and interesting experience of learning how to use crutches and over long distance (or have a built-in mental fear of using crutches), well, why the FUCK would I listen to them for?

To rewind a little, from the emergency I was given lots of pain medication and they practically threw the crutches into my lap like another useless perscription of sort without instructing me on how to use my brand new legs. Did this build my confidence level with crutches? And was it supposed to? I think absolutely fucking not!

Towards the ending when I was heading out the emergency room it was time for my body to vomit it’s organs, raging anger and maniac depression out. I was outside (thankfully with a good friend) at 4am from the cab ride home to the concrete of what was going to be my new place of stay – vomiting and vomiting and vomiting and vomiting. I thought about people who used heavy drugs and why? I thought about why was I going through this and than quickly thought: Why ask why?

It took me 30 minutes to get inside the apartment, due to my drugged-ness of medication and learning how to use crutches for the very first time. The feeling of illness, nausea, pain in my foot, vomiting every few crutch-steps, along with a crackhead up my ass telling me a home remedy consisting of soaking my foot in butter and sugar – while trying to balance from the extreme dizziness I felt and eyeing the ground for immediate cracks on the floor at 4am was one of the hardest things to do in my life. I still don’t know how the fuck I made it into the elevator or into the abode.

The same week, a few days later, I felt froggy and decided on going to hang out with a friend of mine like we do every Friday. The only catch was using crutches. (I didn’t even think about getting a wheelchair yet and the thought of staying indoors seemed very depressing.) It didn’t hit me until I got to the lobby where I actually felt frightened – as frightened as the first day of kindergarten: Was I going to fall? How long will it take me to go to his car from the building (which is a 40 second walk) with these crutches? Am I sure I want to do this? I allowed myself to feel the panic. I digested it and braved on. It took roughly 10 minutes.

Mentally I was completely helpless. I felt powerless, which triggered humiliation, shame and pure embarrassment. Note: This doesn’t mean I look at people who use crutches or a wheelchair and say to myself, “They should feel humiliated.” This is what I feel personally. This is my experience. And those 10 minutes felt long. I lowered my head in defeat, and when people asked me if I needed help – I smiled half ass and unconvincingly. I was drowning, fatigued. I had to stop short every 5 crutch-step. It was enough and still is enough to use a wheelchair when necessary, especially when I’m going the distance and/or shopping.

I’m not above using a wheelchair at the moment and I don’t see why I should be. Why can’t I make things easy for me when I need it now the most? Why do I have to abuse myself physically even when I have a broken bone that needs to fuse together and heal? I physically abuse myself when I go to the gym and weightlift for hours during the week. (This doesn’t include cardio or stretching work.) I easily put in 10 hours or more at the gym a week. This doesn’t include workouts at home or how much I walk the city streets for extra mileage and to boost my metabolism whenever I can.

I also know, unlike most people I don’t have a problem with inactivity. I have the opposite problem – where I need to learn and force my hand for when my body, central nervous system or mind needs a day off from the gym. So when it’s time to bounce back, I’m going to put in 100% because I have a wonderful gym mentality and like a dear friend who reads my blog has stated to me, “You want it more than most.” And I do. And I’ve already proven this to my motherfuckin self for a decade with weightlifting.

So, excuse me if I want a fucking wheelchair. Excuse me, if for the moment that I believe it’s necessary to take a moment out, to relax, to say, “Hey, it’s alright to take it easy because it’s important right now.” I’ve given myself permission and fuck what anyone else thinks. Who likes hopping or swinging on one leg? This is my life. Fuck everybody else!

I write this, just in case someone else is questioning whether they should use a wheelchair at any point in time for their fibula fracture when they need it because people couldn’t mind their fucking business and you may doubt yourself. Just because you’re young and not obese doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to use a wheelchair. It’s your life, your business, your prerogative. Fuck everybody else and their shameless opinions. They don’t know you or what you’re going through. They get NO say! You have my permission. 🙂

Pretty soon I’ll be hopeful in not needing to spend money on cabs like I’m made out of trees or hold my heavy leg up during the cab ride because New York City and their infamous potholes hurt! I’ll be hopeful to not have to base a decision at the whim of a day or night – trying to figure out if I can be fundamentally happy where I nap and put the world and my ankle to sleep, so I don’t wallow in pain or depression. I’ll be hopeful about the near future where I don’t have to pick something off the floor in trembling balance and any sign of dog toys or sneakers on the floor won’t instill fear in me.

-Pennington

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The (New) Affair of Jogging


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Tonight I broke in my Saucony running sneakers.

I haven’t attempted jogging or running since last summer, mostly because I was going to do a 5K Obstacle Race and after that race (which sadly I didn’t get to do because I showed up 3 minutes late) I had zero motivation to continue jogging or running.  Still, a desire aches deep within.  This evening, during my initial 5 minute walk on the Treadmill I felt like I was strolling, cushioned by eternal clouds all around my tender feet and ankles; how lost I felt within instant change from my regular cross-training battered Nike sneakers.  With a Cheshire-cat grin on my face I said, “I can get used to these clouds,” just when my mind shotgun me a warning, “Better not get comfortable, you’re going to need every ounce of yourself tonight.  We’re starting back at square one.”

And this entry won’t be about every little thing I did (although I’ll add a little in for the sake of healthy reminders and anew celebration), but of some observations I learned this evening.  I’m happy because although my body was already exhausted from the burdens of continual soreness, I fought for every minute I walked and every minute I jogged.  And even though I couldn’t finish strong with the pace of 5.5 towards the ending, I placed extra mileage (4.5 speed) on these sneakers and feet because I want nothing to stop me.

The small moments of invincibility I’ll take on any day in which I battled long, hard and steady for.  Towards the last countdown of the game, over the hill of more than 3 and a half miles I gave myself a few fist pumps and thumbs up even if people thought I was a crazy loser at the rear Treadmills.  But I earned the crown of headache-jogging and for a moment, I earned the world of guts once again.

I took in quite a few observations about jogging and getting close to the ideal of going at a running pace for my short legs which stopped at a 5.5 speed.  The most basic observation being the amount of focus I have to demand and generate at sheer will.  I have a habit of looking down at my feet/legs or even at the numbers increasing or decreasing on cardio machines at the gym.  But looking down takes my focus away from jogging and allows my mind to drift even when I don’t want it too.

At one point I had to decrease the 5.5 to 5.3 because I could sense my balance being off track and I was going to no doubt bust my ass if I continued on that speed.  I lowered it for a moment to regain my focus again and not look down at my feet or try to change my music on the ipod.  Instead I just stared up at the television where the label on the board wrote out: TNT.  OH!  And every now and again, I stared at this flamboyant guy who jogged worse than flailing wrist forward females, in which, put my mind at ease about being a self-conscious beginner jogger.

The other observation was about the need to relax myself while trying to find the poise of fluidity and balance.  I don’t make any excuses for my body fat or the solid muscle I do have on my structure.  But with both the fat and muscle generally it’s difficult for me to feel relaxed and/or light.  I’m on edge even when I sit down on a train reading a good book and my hands are close to bunching in a fist and my arms are never fully extended because of tension I hold tightly to my body.  The small moments when I do feel light, it’s a rarity, kind of like allowing myself to trust in a stranger; unfamiliar territory, needless to say along with grandeur vulnerability.

So, in turn, having to trust myself while learning how to loosen up and let go throughout jogging is a test I must study to overcome.  I’ve come a long way with this, as well, because when I first attempted jogging and running years ago, it wasn’t until I took off my headphones that I heard the loud thunder of my feet hitting the Treadmill belt.  Apparently, I was a little too good when it came to stomping and probably better at hurting my joints in the process.  Tonight I focused and auto-suggested to myself how I’m light as a feather and balance become me.  There were clear moments of fluidity and of a highness that offered itself to me in the form of joy and glide.

Short side note here:  There’s nothing like jogging when it comes to my body.  I wonder if it’s due to the fact that I’m inefficient at it currently.  But, seriously, nothing taxes my body like a jog or short run.  Nothing!  I wonder if I’m one of those people who aren’t built for jogging or running and if it’s something I could just be spinning my wheels on?

Another observation or rather, a question balloons:  How soon is too soon to push beyond the limits of what I think I can perceive?  I’m aware of my body in many areas, but there are moments when I can never be too careful (aside from thinking the worse fantasies of falling on the Treadmill and somehow splitting my kneecap open).  I know my body well enough to know I need at least a 5 minute warm up before jogging.  Then I could only jog or attempt running for 5-7 minutes at a time because anymore than that and my left shin starts to give out.  So I walk for 5 and jog for 5 minutes and repeated this until the point where my body is getting tired, but it seems like my mind gets tired at the same time as my body.  Actually, it’s hard to know which is fatiguing first.

However, my lungs can handle it well and my legs have done more than enough strength-training and Plyometrics to where they don’t tire as quickly as someone who’s never done that type of training before.  But my feet aren’t strong and neither are my shins when I compare them to my lungs and the rest of my legs.  Eventually the shin splints and dead feet start to weigh me down.  This usually takes anywhere from a total of 20-30 minutes of jogging.  (Again, I’ve never been consistent with jogging.)  Tonight I had this feeling where my legs seemed to outdo my brain and it was running quicker than I thought I could; running so much I had to decrease the speed as my stability once again was getting out of control and I was going to fall.  So, finding the balance (that has nothing to do with the mind/body itself), but of my limitation is another challenge.

It took me approximately one month and a half to break in my running sneakers.  This is a fresh new start to the world of jogging and running for me.  This time I want to be consistent.  I’ve made up my mind long ago to be well-rounded when it comes to fitness.  I don’t only want to be good at one thing and nothing can replace my first love of dumbbells and weight-training.  Still, I want to be good at multiple things fitness-related.  Originally the goal was to run for a total of 30 minutes.  I came up short and reached 25 minutes.  I added an extra 5 minutes even though I felt like I had barely anything else to give because my body was failing me right from the beginning as my chest, traps, shoulders, back and lower abs were and still are completely sore from a workout the other night.  I felt this made the jog excruciating in a sense.  Nevertheless, I most likely prefer it to be this way.

Next time I’ll see if I could push more or at the least get better time while having my body on much fresher and recovered terms.   After my delightful jog (the only thing that gets me sweaty in no time and for some reason also gives me water retention the longer I go), I stretched for 35-40 minutes.  That’s one of the worthwhile benefits I found with jogging; the stretch after is remarkable as my entire body had zero choice in the matter, but to yield to laxity.

This is just the beginning of something different.

-Pennington