The sunrise view from Little Mountain in San Bernardino today.
I woke up to some sad news this morning. As I stared at the text message, I had to wonder what makes one person more capable of processing tragedy and surviving it than another. One such moment is not even like another within the same lifetime. Someone had reached their breaking point, and snapped.
In these moments you begin to evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses. It is easy to remember a time when I myself felt so saturated that one more blow would put me right over the edge. Some of it came as recently as earlier this year, and making the decision to persevere was not something that I flowed into easily. Lying there, seeing the morning light peek through my drapes, I decided it was time to take a serious walk, so I got up and dressed. I am fussing right now because I need a pricey pair of hiking boots that I can’t yet afford, and my body has let me know in no uncertain terms that I can no longer cheap out on gear like I did when I was younger and less damaged. I have one pair of athletic shoes with an all-terrain sole (and no ankle support – go ahead, say “eeek”, because I did), so that is what I went with. I have a trail that I can walk that is easily accessed, but staring at the high trail leading up to the ridge on the hill next to it has been bothering me. Looking at it, I knew good and well that there was a time when I would not have hesitated to head straight up and explore. I have been wondering at what point I should attempt it, and today I decided to stop wondering and find out. You don’t know until you try. I had to go slow, but I went. All the way to the top I went.
Am I going to feel it tomorrow? In all likelihood, yes. I do not care. Somewhere along the route to recovery you have to start pushing your boundaries harder, and you have to make choices that might cause others to question your mental status. I let myself be told for the last 10 years what I should not and could not do, and now I need to make those decisions based on what my heart says – not what someone not even living in my body says. When I first fell and injured my SI joint, I had a therapist with the same injury. You would think that would help, but it didn’t. Her words did more harm than good, because in her estimation this was something I would have to live with forever and I would have to “manage my pain”. Back then they were telling patients that the damage was permanent and it would never be the same no matter what they did. At the time it felt believable, because I can tell you very plainly that there is no pain like it. There were times that the medication I took was to keep me from screaming, not so much to actually dull the pain sufficiently. Over time it took more and more from my life because I had no way to know how to make it better, and then eventually I ended up in 2006, unable to stand up and walk. When Lupus entered the picture, it began to settle in injuries during flares. That’s how I ended up there. In short… shame on my therapist. A healer should encourage a patient with hope, not pronounce doom. The PT goddess that I finally had last year (after a long list of useless ones) finally did that – gave me hope. She not only gave me hope, she proved it. Am I 100% yet? Nope. Do I think I will be one day? YES I WILL. For the first time in over a decade, I believe that I will.
It doesn’t mean that the ailments I live with will vanish. It does mean that I am the one in charge of how they affect my choices, and how they are managed. I will never again let another “professional” tell me that I can’t do something. If you had told me back then that I would be climbing Little Mountain today, I wouldn’t have believed it for even one second. I bought that lie. I am also supposed to stay out of the sun, by the way. I can wear sunblock, sleeves, and a hat, thanks.
Is there something you have been staring at, wondering if you could conquer it? How bad do you want it? The sun came up this morning, and it will come up again tomorrow. When it does, maybe it’s time to go tackle something. Own it.