Ad hoc vulnerability. I bet we’ve all been in that stew pot.
Right now, I’m smack fresh in an ad hoc situation. I went out for a couple long stretches of weeding yesterday. Because I’d thrown down packets of flower mix seed, there isn’t exactly a row or space to get in and weed without crushing a flower as you go. Picture me sowing my flower seeds, victorious in the sunshine, gloriously determined to reclaim flowers in my life, casting my flower seeds to and fro! Yes, it was pretty awesome… until it all grew in with massive amounts of grass and weeds and looked like a veritable enmeshed jungle! I’m going to try to get my daughter to take a photo to add to the blog later.
Ah yes… back on the original bunny trail. I had a couple of long stretches weeding. I may have invented something new here to be called Yoga Weeding. You contort and get in strange positions, holding yourself up so you don’t crush what’s beneath, while extending to trace a grass weed to the soil to pull it without pulling out an emerging flower. I used muscles that I forgot I had, and worked up a sweat both time. Physically, it felt horrible, exhausting, and left my muscles quivering and me shaking. Inside? It felt AWESOME! I was getting a good workout while feeling that I was also really fighting to reclaim something I love. I was suffering joyously, feeling that I was heading towards my goal of improved fitness and health.
Of course… I was also planning to never repeat this, and to start many flower seeds indoors ahead of time next year to place in arranged areas with space to move around for weeding…
Yup. So last night I was feeling entirely exhausted, but definitely this feisty spark of hope, like throwing a spice called Zest for Life into your recipe. I started to walk back to find one of my sons to see if he’d buy milk if he was going to the gym, and then it happened.
It. The ankle I sprained horrifically when I was about seventeen that every now and then just goes out from under me. Only this time, the darn ankle did its special little trick right as I was about to walk into the garage walkway, and I went down hard on the concrete, left knee hitting hard first and taking the brunt of it.
It took everything I had to not scream loudly. Last night, I couldn’t walk without help. You all know whose help I needed. I felt so vulnerable, and I wept. I had to have his help to walk back to the bedroom, to get into the bathroom, to get up and down. To get ice packs. Vulnerable, needy and dependent. This is why I wept and felt despair.
I have a high pain thresh hold. I’ve been so quiet while in labor and about to give birth, that the nurse thought maybe I wasn’t really in labor. The physical pain of that fall was terrible, but the emotional pain flew up off the charts for me. If you read my gardening posts, I mentioned that just as we were getting the garden in last year, I dislocated a bone in my foot. The doctor took x-rays, and while treating that swollen and discolored foot, told me I had to stay-off-of-it. That meant I missed the best part of last summer, my favorite season and related activities. I missed most of swimming (and I live to be in water). I missed the annual trip to the water park that my youngest girl and I love so much. I missed watching the garden grow because I couldn’t walk up the slope to get to it. I missed the beautiful summer, spending those weeks with my foot propped and healing.
All that flew through my mind like a panorama of anxiety. The inner berating accusations flew freely. Stupid! Clumsy! Stupid me, about to make progress. About to enjoy her summer. About to save her first flower patch in years. About to believe that she can accomplish change.
About to hope…
Remember the part in the movie Pollyanna where she just laid in the bed and didn’t want to talk to anyone and had given up? That was me last night.
He was helping me. But it seemed like he was going through the motions, like he was reading off a script to respond. At one point, with tears still flowing involuntarily, I said, “I wish you’d be a little nicer.”
He replied, “What do you mean? I’ve gotten you ice packs, helped you walk, gotten a pillow for you, and a drink!“
I said, “I mean you don’t seem like you’re upset that I’m hurt.“
He said, “I’m not upset that you’re hurt. I’m upset that I’m not getting things done.“
I said, “Do you realize how terrible that sounds? Is?“
His eyes do the irritated-confused-look-through-and-past-me while the wheels of thought spin in them.
He said, “I’m not upset that you’re hurt….Of course I’m upset that you’re hurt… I’m just not getting my work done.“
(“When someone tells you who they are…” Maya Angelou)
This morning I was able to very slowly walk across the house by myself. I’m drinking lots of aloe vera juice and putting emu oil on my knee. I’m keeping it propped and using ice packs.
And I just don’t want to give up. I am a bit scared, though I’m trying to summon inner bravado to stare it down. Vulnerability scares me.