Hi All! If you’re a friend of mine on FB, you can feel free to ignore this post if you want. It’s a venty post about me realizing I’m crazy. You probably figured that out ages ago, and I may come off as a bit of a whiner. But I wanted to start the blog again to keep myself accountable, so here I am.
SO very much in my life has changed since my last blog post, it’s going to take a few posts to bring blog-only readers up to speed. For today, we’ll briefly tackle my work life change. Effective in January, I took a new position within my company to focus on Quality Assurance. In my world, what that means is that I’m verifying materials for accuracy, writing documents, and editing. It is SO much more my speed than my former position in data integration was. I have a dedicated group of coworkers I work with all day every day. I’m a sounding board, an unofficial mentor, a word smith. My friends have always said I’m good with the words, and some of them will still bounce phrasing off of me for their own work projects.
OK, so I am good with the words. Great. Know what I’m not so good with? My identity. It seems a little lost right now. Brief recap on my foot situation-which turns pretty lengthy, TBH. Back in August, I started a journey towards healthy feet. Because mine were decidedly not. It started with a heel spur removal on my left foot as well as the removal of a ganglion cyst on my big toe joint. That surgery sucked-I could describe it in 3 words. Dueling incision pain. But I recovered, and headed on to the main event. My right foot was prohibitively flat, and all my running didn’t help things. As a result, we had to both remove a heel spur on ole righty and do a first metatarsal fusion. I think that surgery can be best described with this photo:
See how my big toe there is kind of pointed up higher than the rest? It’s fused that way by all the hardware you see in the lighter coloring. 7 screws, a pin, and a plate. It was a big deal. 2 full weeks non-weight bearing, followed by a gradual return to weight bearing in a boot and then 8 weeks in the boot for every single step I took. As an obsessively active person, these limitations were very difficult for me. VERY difficult. I made it through, and by early February I was able to resume activity-in a non weight bearing capacity. March was the first time I was allowed to try and run again. And it went AMAZINGLY! My first mile felt so good. By 2 weeks, I’d run nearly 4 miles at a stretch.
Know what you’re not supposed to do after such a duration of inactivity? Build up to 4 miles in 2 weeks. While I can’t say for sure that the quick build caused my current situation, I’m sure it had a hand. A few days after that 4 mile run, I started to notice that my ankle hurt. Right around the ankle bone. It would get pretty swollen after a workout or even just towards the end of the day. I could really only run 2 miles before it hurt too much to finish. And then one day, during a boot camp style workout, I felt something snap-y. My ankle that night looked like this:
Gross, right? I made an appt that night with my foot dr-I’d had some other swelling issues with the foot in general that were not related to pain but more inconvenience, so I wanted to check in with him as opposed to a general dr. He saw my ankle, saw this photo, and ordered an MRI. He was pretty sure I’d strained my peroneal tendon-that giant one in the photo. BUT he was also concerned I’d torn it. If that was the case, it would mean surgical repair. I was freaked the hell out, but the results were negative-just lots of swelling and an “effusion”. My follow up tomorrow will give the course of treatment, but I was immediately put back into my medical boot to immobilize things and start to control the swelling.
So, what does all of this have to do with my identity? I’m coming to a realization my friends and family probably saw about me months or years ago. I did this to myself. I couldn’t follow the normal process and build back into things. I read articles about how it takes about a year to get back to where you were after a major surgery like mine, but I brushed them off as a worst case scenario. I was so desperate to lose the 5 or so vanity pounds I gained over the course of these issues that I thought I could just beat my body into submission. It’s sobering to realize that your vanity causes you actual physical harm. I’m sure there’s been other flagrant displays of disregard for my physical well being as a whole in favor of a workout, a calorie burn, or similar before, but this is the first time it’s really hit me over the head.
It’s time to take care of myself, for real. I am an active woman who lives at a healthy weight, and pushing myself to the point of breaking is no longer OK. It’s vain, and it’s stupid. I am literally the only person who can see the difference with this all-important 5 pounds. My weight doesn’t define me-but if I’m not *crazy runner Laura with the self-discipline to not binge at the office food day* then who am I? Why does it matter so much that I come off that way to people? I perceived myself as fat in middle school and high school, and it affected my self confidence immensely, which in turn affected how I interacted with everyone. I was “less than” in my eyes, so how could I be anything better in theirs? And I’ve been trying to prove some invisible “them” wrong ever since. Guess what? There was never a “them”. It’s all been in my head, all the time.
But that presents another mental roadblock to me. A heroin addict stops doing heroin. An alcoholic doesn’t drink anymore. But you can’t stop eating. You still need to exercise-and there is no real way to qualify how much is healthy vs how much is too much. I personally have to meet certain fitness goals at work to maintain my health savings account and my insurance. So I can’t just walk away from what has been my addiction-calorie restriction and excessive exercise. How do I stay active and healthy without going too far? It’s such a fine line.
I’m an average human woman, physically. So glad I’ve figured out what probably takes most women half this long to learn. But then, who am I on the inside? What makes me, me? I read books. I stitch things. I am unforgivably sarcastic. I can bake edible sweet things, and make some not-so-sweet things. I’ll still be that friend who is always willing to go for a walk with you. But is that enough? Do all those things make a person? I hope so. Because for now, that’s all I got.