Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My refuge

Sometimes it takes one simple thing to propel me into the kind of thoughts that make me question whether I can (or want to) make it through the next year, let alone 40 years (and 40 more is optimistic with my family history. If I was realistic it would be 15 more years.)

This week’s simple thing is my shoulder. Nothing so life changing as a terminal illness, or the loss of job, or the loss of a loved one. Nope, just shoulder pain. I cringe in embarrassment as I write the words, because of all the people I know who have endured worse and thrived. But this simple thing seems to be the tether to my sanity. Because the one thing that I have passion for, no, the one thing I have passion for that has never let me down, is lifting.

The weight room is my refuge. It is where I go to escape the suffocation of the empty rooms in my house. It is where I go to prove to myself I can still do something hard. It is the place that keeps me out of bed as early as six in the evening. Lifting is the one thing I can do where all other thought disappears…and the harder the lift the better. The leg press is my favorite right now, because as I press the weight it is as though I am pushing away all the disappointment, and uncertainty, and worries of bills, and anger (which is only despair in disguise) for those who so easily walk out of my life. You can do this, I tell myself. And I can. The emotions the lift erases carry a lot of weight. With each exhale my burdens become lighter. When I was sixteen and I needed to escape I would drive down the highway as fast and far as it took to realize I had no place to go. The weight room is where I go.

So, what if I can’t anymore. What if THAT is taken away? Oh, I know the shoulder will heal,
and I’ll adapt. But it reminds me that right now I am wholly dependent on my love of lifting. And being dependent on anything feels like a mistake. The frustration is not with the possibility of the inability to lift, it's with the not having anyplace else to go, and with gas prices the way they are, can't afford to drive up and down the highway, can I?

Perhaps it is time to reassess more than what lifts I can manage with an injured shoulder. Perhaps it is time to find other places of refuge, to find other means of coping, to discover other joys.

But not today. Today I am planning out a kick a$$ leg day for tomorrow. And the harder the better.


  1. What are your options with the shoulder? have you seen a Dr.? Leg days are good!
    What if you resolved your reasons for "escape"?
    do you think that's possible?

  2. I never walked out of your life Mel... I hope you know that. <+>

  3. Your shoulder will be healed by the power of God. I will be praying for you Mel. <+>

  4. Martin, I know...even when it feels like you're not in my life, I know you are still out there, well, and you're ALWAYS in my heart. <+>

    And I appreciate the prayers. You are always in mine. <+>

  5. Oh, and shoulder update. Doctor says it's LIKELY not a tear...Just gonna have to take it easy for awhile to reduce inflammation. So, no HEAVY upper body lifts for a few weeks. Going with lighter weight/more reps. We'll see how it goes. :)

  6. Okay, so here's my spin, for what it's worth. First on the shoulder (the easy part) having endured 3 dislo's in 2 years, each worse than the previous, I can SOOO relate to BOTH the pain & frustration BUT what finally got mine turned around was two fold. First, YES! low to medium weights with high reps will be needed! That keeps it moving, keeps the healing blood pumping through it but doesn't continue tearing away at the fibers as they try to heal. Secondly, and I'd never thought I'd say this, look around for a good accupuncturist! I AHTE needles BUT Doc Ming & his magic needles finally got me to where I could sleep without the dull throbbing ache & eventually helped the healing to get over the hump. I'm still not back to lifting "heavy" as I haven't convinced myself it's worth the risk of reinury yet but it's MUCH better!

    As for the soul part (MUCH more difficult I know) there's hope Mel! You are an intelligent young lady who obviously has an amazing inner drive based on your progress. As Suz said, maybe a "drive" up memory lane, BUT with your Sherlock Holmes hat on, could help find new sources of motivation, focus, happiness. People keep telling me I'll NEVER find happiness as long as I'm looking for it, especially looking externally, but I beleive you & I are wired VERY similarly & I can not believe, okay so my Blog today seemed a surrender BUT, that there isn't any hope out there. It's just either too far away OR too close to see.

    Meanwhile, yeah at $3 a gallon, just load up some good road tunes at home, light the candles, get comfy, close your eyes & let your soul slide off to a happy place of solace knowing you're an awesome lady who's brought lots of smiles where there hadn't been any in a LONG time!