Why I’m jealous of YOU at the gym..and it’s not the reason you think

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As all of you know, in the last 5 months I have become a gym bunny. Even though there was  break when I was sick, I’ve gone back to the gym and I’m hungry and obsessed to get back. After going on Tuesday, I spent the week waiting for Sunday morning so that I could go again and now I’m (hopefully) going tomorrow as long as my migraine disappears. I have noticed though, that sometimes I look around and feel myself getting a little jealous.

Now, I’m not jealous of people with beautiful athletic bodies, those who don’t sweat when they exercise or look endlessly cool.  I’m not jealous because I want the results without having to work hard. I’m jealous because their bodies work and mine doesn’t always behave. BUT at the same time, I’m learning to love and worship my body that literally had to rebuild a core part of itself, and know how lucky I am to be walking.

I get a little anxious and self conscious at times, not at all because of the way I look, after all the gym is where people go to work on themselves. No, I feel self conscious because of how much slower I am than others, and how little I can do because of my spine. For me, doing an hour at the gym is another small step towards normality for me. An extra five minutes on the treadmill for me is a huge thing BUT when everyone in the gym wants to go on the exercise bikes at the same time (positioned exactly behind the treadmills and therefore with a full view of my bum) and I’m still just able to do a walking pace, and a fairly slow one, at that. I do feel a little awkward I want to shout at them, ‘I’m in spine recovery, I’m not pathetic I promise!, I’m not just lazy’ because this is how I fear others see myself.

I try and tell myself not to care, that most of it is in my mind  and who actually cares what I’m doing? It might be silly but these thoughts go around in my head sometimes. Then then evolve to me wishing that I was fully recovered and I could run or lift a weight that was a ‘real’ weight rather than the tiniest ones that are there because they’re the only thing I can comfortably lift.

There will be a time where I’m a lot better and that’s happening slowly, just under a year ago I had to have help to get up one step and a small set of stairs to my flat were a huge problem. So the fact that I can go to a gym and try and do some exercise is incredible, and I know that. But sometimes, just sometimes, the green eyed monster will rear her ugly head and make me feel a little down, I know that’s normal and one day I’ll be able to throw her off my shoulder.

 

 

Crack – a poem

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Sometimes I write poetry, this image really made me think about the past year and where I’m at now. I started writing this after a really tough gym session,where I just felt my body let me down. Anyway, this is one of my few poems, enjoy.

One second was all it took,

Flying then falling

My lungs gasping for air

You cracked and you crumbled,

making me not as high.

Once I’d dreamed of growing taller, now I’d take it with no complaints.

You made my legs useless,

my summer a sleepy haze.

A city that should have been my playground,

turned into white walls and levels of pain.

Even now as I start to reclaim,

some of those things you took.

You can still floor me with a no notice

reaching out for boxes, the only hope I have of taking away my pain.

No doubt you’ve changed my life,

for the good as well as the bad.

In ways I couldn’t have dreamt of,

before their letter came.

I don’t want to fight against you,

spend my days angry and depressed.

But some days I can’t forgive a body that fights against me.

When I’m trying every day.

But I suppose time will tell,

and all I can do is carry on.

Slowly and pick myself up from the fall.

What have I done this summer?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the expectations of summer today and for the past few weeks. As we creep closer to September and the evenings start getting darker that little bit earlier summer is scampering away before our very eyes. While I was lying on the bed at my appointment yesterday, as my physio was telling me to slow down and not push the muscles too hard something in me snapped. NO! I wanted to scream in my head, No I’m done, I want a summer do over, I want to go and explore the world and write books and go all over London. Just give me a do over. But I was sat slowly trying to pull my knees towards my chest and having my reflexes checked every week to make sure that I wasn’t getting worse. I was waiting on doctors appointments and adjusting medication levels every few weeks. What the hell was I going to say once I got back to uni?

Almost on queue my anxiety  kicked in today, with a days of depressive thoughts too. What if everyone just ignored me when I couldn’t keep up or go on nights out properly? What if I just sat in the corner while everyone talked about how awesome their summer plans were and how they were glad they spent their last summer before graduating having fun and being young? All I could say was that I fractured my spine, got to go in an ambulance and slept a lot.

So I got sad, got angry, and tried to convince myself getting out of bed and getting dressed was going to be a good move. I threw on some clothes after a while and scraped back my hair, intending to take some pictures of Kingston in the sun. The short story is that it didn’t happen, the long version includes a lot of muscle spasms and swearing. So I moped even more and did housework. Now I bet you’re thinking why do I want to read her moaning about life being sucky, WAIT, this bits almost over, I promise.

I thought the words, what have I done this summer? After waves of negativity I had a lightbulb moment, I managed to get my spine to heal back together. I realised how awesome and amazing my body had been this summer. I might not have done anything that other people I know will have done like a trip to Australia or going to Reading Fest, but my body has managed to piece itself back together and escape never being able to use my legs again.

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I realised that it was pretty awesome that I’ve gone from needing help to get out of bed, to walk even the tiniest bit and helped out of the bath every time (now it’s not as often) to having the independence to go to work and my physio appointments without everyone being anxious about it. I’ve learnt to deal with doctors and have a love for nurses. I’ve learnt that I can handle levels of pain I wouldn’t imagine and that if my determination ever needed testing this would do it. I didn’t back down on going to Athens or performing at Basingstoke Live, as people keep telling me I’ve been pretty bad ass.

I still have a long way to go, more appointments, more physio and having to adjust my plans but your body healing itself is a pretty awesome thing and it even makes me forgive the stretch marks that have caused me so much upset lately. Even with all that and the chance I’ll never be able to ride again/ it will be too much of a risk, the experience has made me grow, as cheesy as it sounds. I’ve picked myself up from lows I never thought I’d have and I’ve seen the beauty in the people around me.

So that’s what I’ve done this summer, how about you?

Silver Linings

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In my Creative Writing classes if we used the cliché of ‘Every Cloud has a Silver Lining’ we’d be in for it. I hadn’t really thought of things being that way but Dani sent me a text the other day reminding me and I thought, yeah actually she’s right.

I’ve had a few few things in my life not go to plan or not go very well. Take for instance failing my driving test 4 times, the first time I walked into my house, decided I couldn’t hold it together and launched my shoes at the wall. Once I’d calmed down my Mum said she knew that I’d have a melt-down because I’d never failed before, not in any sort of test. I kind of needed to fail then I think, I needed to to remind me that things could take time and that’s ok. Don’t get me wrong I wish my parents and I hadn’t had to pay out hundreds of pounds before I passed in my 5th test but there was a silver lining there.

Another thing, my time at school. I don’t write about it much on here, I might some day to do a post on bullying. So it was horrendous, I was spat at, beaten up, spiralled into my darkest days of depression and for the most part left by my school to spiral more and more until my parents took me out for exams. That said, I can’t write school off as a totally negative experience, it’s where I met the love of my life. It’s where I kept forgetting a girls name and calling her Frizz who 5 years later gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who is now my goddaughter. Again, another silver lining.

And now my back. If I’m honest it’s really hard to see silver linings at the moment, my days are long and boring. So I’ve tried to find some and there are there a little. I can’t go to Prague, but I am allowed to go to the Society Awards where hopefully Horse Riding will win a few awards. I’ve been stuck in bed as it’s the only place I’m really comfortable, but I have had time to go over and submit my assignments as well as read any book I want too at the moment.

I try to remember this in times when I’m really low. If you’re reading this and thinking I can’t do it, I feel too bad, that’s okay! I know the feeling of being so low and shitty that there aren’t any positives and if there are you’re hurting too much to care. I’ve been there. Like most of us I’m just trying to have a little bit of positivity 🙂

Image from Pinterest