I was partaking in some of the most delicious chicken tikka masala the other day with some fantastic humans, when one of them said, “I know this sounds lame, but at least you’ll have something to blog about after this (in regards to the current life season I am going through).” And I chuckled, because I knew he was right. There is always something to take away from the circumstances we go through. But I didn’t think I’d be writing about all this so soon.
I honestly think it’s easier to inspire when you’ve already come out of the darkness; when you’re already out of the storm, on the other side, seeing rays of sunshine as the clouds split. It’s easier because you’re able to be more compassionate and resonate with people who have gone through the same things. You can give spiels like: It’ll be okay. Your circumstance is hard, but there is light and you will overcome. But it makes me think about what it’s like during the process. The real question is: Are you still able to inspire and leave a positive impact even on the days where you don’t feel very positive while standing under heavy pounding rain… and what does that even look like?
When I first started this personal blog a little over two years ago, I was going through an extremely heartbreaking time. I think I was at such a low place, that I needed to create a space to give myself pep talks. But as I dove more into this thing, I wanted it to be about something more than myself. More than anything, I wanted it to be about the process and the journey of life all of us walk through—the messes, the healing, the moments that put smiles on our faces or make us hardcore belly laugh. I wanted every word that was typed out onto this blog to be totally raw and honest. The purpose was to let people know they weren’t alone in their struggles, as well as their victories. I didn’t just want to write about the lessons I’ve learned (past tense), I also wanted to write about what I am learning or trying to learn (present tense). And right now in this particular season, it’s nice to be reminded of that.
The thing I’ve noticed recently is that I have people randomly asking me, “What’s next?” What’s next on you travel itinerary, what’s next with relationships, what’s next for adventures, what’s next for your plans, what’s next for life?
If anyone asked me this question two and half weeks ago, I would have probably said something along the lines of: I’ve got some photo sessions to knock out, I’m preparing for some fun music releases, looking forward to a few shows, and preparing to jet set to Asia for a few weeks, with several more trips to follow soon after.
But the reality is that I just spent one week mostly in bed icing a swollen knee with a torn ACL. Another week praying desperately that maybe by some miracle, my MRI would turn up clean and that it was just a gnarly sprain. And the last four days coming to terms with the fact that I didn’t just tear my ACL, I actually also tore my meniscus too. With all that feeling pretty fresh, I’ve also had to quickly decide what options and procedures to move forward with next, which brings us to the current status: Prehab hard because I only have three weeks instead of six to strengthen my body + Surgery ASAP.
Details aside, it would be a complete lie if I told people I haven’t been losing sleep and getting some serious anxiety. For me, there’s a whole lot to consider, things to do for preparation, and clearances I need before any knives cut my skin or holes get drilled into my body. Because, autoimmune junk.
ACL surgery is every athlete/retired athlete/active person’s nightmare. It’s like totaling your car or blowing out your car tire, but never actually being able to buy a new one, or having to be super cautious about driving on your spare as you navigate roads. You’re just caught in a lose-lose situation and have to wisely pick to the best of your ability the option that’s basically the best of the sucky. But let’s be real, it’s all still shitty. I’ve got a million questions running through my brain, accompanied with a side of unknowns and uncertainty. I’m still slowly coming to terms that I tore a perfectly good ACL, and my knee will never be the same. It’s possible that it’ll never function to the capacity that it previously could, and I might have to cut some intense physical activities. So, all that to take in is a huge bummer. And I just keep having to tell myself: to take one step at a time. (Thanks, Jordin Sparks)
BRB. Tending to real life.
So what’s next for me is that I’m physically preparing, but also mentally and emotionally getting ready for pre and post operation. In a lot of ways, I already know that this is going to be a life-changing surgery. I’ll be that person setting off the metal detectors going through airport security for the rest of my life. And, I’ll be buying a pairs upon pairs of leggings for some time because metal knee braces and leggings are not friends… the brace usually wins the “I’m gonna screw up the material of your bottoms” game. My health insurance company should seriously reimburse me for them. All in favor? Say aye. 😉 Aye.
People have told me that they think this is a season of rest for me. But I am certain this isn’t a season of rest at all. I won’t be consistent with staying active on social media. I won’t be producing content to the extent that I normally do. And I definitely won’t be climbing volcanoes or jumping fences to chase golden hour anytime soon. Instead, I’ll be channeling my energy elsewhere, like trying to focus on staying mentally positive and strong the best I can, and rehabbing like crazy post-op so I can be stronger and get back to normal activity.
You bet I’ll be learning about humility and patience because ACL recovery is more like running a marathon than a sprint. And, as strange as it sounds, the most exciting thing I’m looking forward to in this season is building resilience. I’m actually thrilled.
After all, building resilience is about knowing when to put a pause on things, then strategically creating internal and external recovery periods. It’s about trying really hard, stopping, recovering, and then trying again.
It’s going to be a season of counting even the littlest of victories.
Plain and simple.