Sometimes, when life pulls the rug out from underneath you, it is time to go on a magic carpet ride
A year ago today, my life as I knew it came to a screeching halt. Well, more like a painful, hobbling slow-down.
I pulled my groin muscle. While doing a fan-kick on a pole.
Yes, a pole. As in pole dancing.
And while I would love to share some titillating story about what I was up to, the truth is that I was in the middle of an intense training program where I had been dancing several hours a day.
I was in the best shape of my life, mentally and physically, my relationship with Jihad was at an all time high, and life was generally amazing. I felt like I had discovered the magic formula for creating the life I wanted – and moving my body was a big part of it.
So, when over the course of the next several weeks, the pain in my hip did not go away – no matter how much ice, heat, rest and bodywork I did, I started to get frustrated and sad, and pissy.
Finally after a couple of months, I went to see one of the best orthopedic sports doctors in LA and he ordered an MRI.
He called me the next day with my results. I had actually torn my labrum (the connective tissue between the muscles and the bone in my hip socket), and while he would give me a prescription for physical therapy, my hip had likely healed as much as it was going to without surgery.
I remember sobbing on the phone that night with a girlfriend. And the next day in the bathtub. And almost anytime I would talk to anyone about it. Pretty much every image I had of myself as a healthy, strong person was shattered.
At first, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I had done this to myself. Luckily, I have good friends who told me that was not a particularly useful line of questioning.
Then I went about trying to find someone who could tell me definitively whether or not I should have surgery, or if I could somehow heal this another way.
I soon discovered that there was no right answer, and no one can guarantee anything when it comes to the human body. We are all unique and the best option was to do my research and then follow my gut. In the end, I chose to have surgery.
And, that’s when life, or at least my moving about in the world, really came to halt.
Flat on my back for days, and then on crutches for weeks. My man stayed home and took exquisite care of me for the first month. But after a while he went back to work, and the highlights of my life were going to physical therapy, watching movies and listening to the birds outside my window. All of which was enjoyable in its own way.
But I was also totally depressed. I was lonely but didn’t want to see anyone. I moped about feeling like life was passing me by and beat up on myself for not being more productive.
After a couple weeks of this, I was standing in my dining room not really sure what to do with myself, a brilliant question randomly popped into my head. What do my current circumstances – spending loads of time alone, inside, not able to move much and slightly depressed – support?
The very first answer that popped into my head was being a writer. But at the time, it didn’t mean anything to me.
It wasn’t until a few days later when a conversation with a girlfriend inspired me to write a post about what it means to be ‘feminine’ that I got an inkling that expressing myself through words could just as pleasurable as expressing myself through movement.
It took another couple of weeks to actually start writing down and sharing my thoughts on a more regular basis.
But eventually I realized that I love to write. I love the process of honing my words, crafting something I enjoy reading out loud and sharing my experience in a way that connects with people.
Now, I’m back to dancing and moving my body in all kinds of ways, and my life has an added layer of richness, a flavor that was brought out by being in the fire, under pressure, and in extreme discomfort.
And perhaps the gift of all gifts is knowing that no matter what craziness happens in life, I am equipped with the question: If I were someone who had designed this situation down to the very last detail, what would I be setting myself up to do, discover or be?
So the next time life pulls the rug out from underneath you, by all means feel free to sit on the cold hard floor for a while. But if at anytime, you feel like going on a magic carpet ride, just ask yourself: If I created this perfect storm, what would I be trying to show myself? What is new here for me to discover?
Because most of the time, what you actually need to keep yourself from being burned to a crisp, or crushed to pieces, is not whatever you think it is – it’s curiosity, mixed with a drop of patience and the willingness to try something new.