I’ve been back for three days now, and I still don’t know if I have the words yet. In fact, I’ve tried to make social media posts multiple times and I ended up erasing the words and hitting discard.
I have pictures. Photos that represent and prove I was there. The connection of words to express and those photos though just hasn’t come to me.
You know, a few years ago I vowed to always chase the hard things. Challenge myself in new and different ways. To live my life abundantly and not live small. A few years ago I began my first real hiking experience up a mountain in Tahoe. It was literally the hardest thing I’d physically done in probably a decade at that time. I was over 300 pounds, my breath was taken from me so easily as I climbed. I sweated as if it was 80 degrees and yet I was climbing in snow. There were so many times I wanted to stop and did stop but I mean stop stop. As in be done. It was hard.
And yet, I continued on.
At that time I decided I didn’t want my body to hold me back from experiencing this world, this life. I flew back to Indianapolis, life could never be the same after that adventure.
Fast forward to today where I’ve kept the sixty pounds off, I’ve been consistently in my gym 4-5 days a week. I’ve put in the time, the effort, the sustainable habits that actually matter, and I really do know my body is not holding me back from living.
When we moved to the Southwest Ohio region, the hobby of everyone here is eating out and outdoor recreation. Of course there are so many trails with views and exciting changes, and did you know Ohio actually has hills? I mean like foothill hills? Yeah I didn’t either, until I moved here. The terrain is so different than what I knew from Indiana. Indiana, if you’ve not been there is flat. Like flat flat. The stereotypes of Indiana being amber waves of grain, yeah… there’s a reason that’s true. Corn. Beans. Wheat. Cows. Pigs. It is a place of flat.
I’ve been pretty active since I moved to Ohio. I take hikes often around my area, and a couple times of year I’ll head east where the terrain is even different. Sometimes it feels like you’re in Tennessee without the bears. It’s gorgeous. Last year I went to the Hocking Hills and stayed in a cabin that was a B&B with upscale dining and luxurious rooms. I went alone. Solitude. Hiking for the full days I was there, adventuring, pushing my body to do new challenges, new things.
In fact, last year I saw waterfalls, cliffs, caverns, and even climbed a section of rock that was barely 6” wide. It was scary but I DID IT. Was I scared? Absolutely, but I DID IT and I threw some air punches with my fist when I realized what I accomplished after looking back at where I had just been.
Fast forward to this past weekend in June when I went backpacking for my first time ever. It leveled up my challenge. I was carrying forty pounds on my back. My whole support for existing was on my back: Shelter, food, fire, water, clothes, first aid, etc.
This weekend I learned…
Almost a year after my pelvic floor reconstruction surgery, I finally feel like I have my body back again.
July 14, 2020 I underwent a surgery to improve my quality of life. I wasn’t just leaking urine all day everyday, but I wasn’t able to tell if I had gas so it would just fly out without warning surprising us all. I was having bladder spasms that were terribly debilitating and had me down for an hour at a time and I could never tell just when it was going to happen. One time found me keeled over inside a pet store afraid to fall on the floor because who knows what’s on those floors.
The surgery worked! The thing with surgery, most people assume the surgery and then the PT afterward is all you need. It is in fact not. I’ve been rehabbing my whole body since I was released by my surgeon. As of this writing it has been exactly 11 months and 1 day post surgery. I’m still every single week going to PT/Rehab/Training my body with my new pelvic floor situation. It’s been frustrating, painful, emotional, and yet I still did what I was told because of the promise there is an end in sight.
I am a survivor and I don’t want to forget it.
Survival is all about having the tools necessary to survive. Sometimes that tool can be actual physical tools, but oftentimes survival comes with wisdom, ingenuity, surrender, knowing when to speak/do and when to not. It’s no secret I love to talk. I love to share. I love to impart wisdom into others. To teach. But I’ve learned sometimes the teaching to be done needs to be done by example. My actions.
I need to focus on what’s right in front of me, not down the path.
I get overwhelmed easily. I struggle with anxiety. People overwhelm me. Ideas overwhelm me. Opportunities.
It happens because I am constantly thinking of the next thing. I’m not always living in the present. Hiking/backpacking and nature reminds me to think about what is right here, right now. That the decisions I make in the right her and right now are going to affect what’s down the path. It reminds me that I need to stay consistent in my steps/paths/choices/actions so that they represent who I want to be when I get down that path a little later.
Think about it a moment. If I don’t pay attention to where I’m stepping out on the trail and trip over roots or slip in mud, I may be injured and ruin my ability to finish the path I’m on.
Nature reminds me of this.
My body can do hard things because I train for the hard things daily.
I can cross rivers/streams on slate slippery rocks because I practice core stability. Ankle mobility. Single leg work.
I can climb 1235 feet of elevation with 40 pounds on my back in 1.25 miles because I practice step ups, weighted step ups, burpees, squats, lunges, deadlifts, back extensions, abmats, push press.
I can move my body in any location I want because I practice.
I show up for myself.
I will not be limited to the places I can go because my body cannot withstand the stress.