Getting around with mini past damages
At first, I wanted to say traumas but it sounded a bit dramatic so I just let it be “damage”. Damage somehow sounds a bit more neutral, so to say. I got a call from my grandma today and amongst other things, she was like “do you know you had the crash around this date a few years back?” I had a momentary pause in reaction, thought and motion. 5th of May. I used to keep track of this precise date. It meant so much. And hearing someone else mention it brought me back to memory lane. So I decided to share my “damaging experiences” with you guys, who knows, maybe one of us will learn something precious out of the vicious past.
When it all started
Started wouldn’t be quite fair to say. I have been through many traumatic events in the past, I had my hand broken by a colleague because I got into an argument with him. I was in a bad relationship with an abusive guy, my kitchen oven exploded while I was at home and quite a few others. Some might say my guardian angel is quite a heavy drinker.
However, one of the experiences that, let’s say, marked me the most was a car crash that I had precisely 5 years ago, on 5th of May. The crash was entirely my fault, I was young and reckless and even nowadays I am grateful that I was alone in the car and that nobody else got hurt. It’s prolly the sole consolation in the whole matter. I was in a rush to get back to Cluj, present my final Bachelor Thesis and probably see my boyfriend or something. Well, that didn’t happen. Without getting into any further details, the damage was represented by my legs. Although I had bruises and burns all over my body, my legs were affected the most. Especially my knees.
The recovery period was long, painful and depressing af. I’ve always been an active person I was into rock climbing and travelling, trekking and so on. And out of a sudden boom it all goes to hell and you are confined to a bed and can’t even pee on your own. After a few surgeries, I was allowed to try walking again, slowly and with a lot of physiotherapy. I swear, if sitting in a hospital bed is not depressing enough, going to physiotherapy sessions in a hospital surely is. Slowly this became my life. Go to the hospital in the morning, do your exercise, don’t gain weight, exercise in the afternoon, don’t gain weight, try to walk. Fail and try again. I didn’t believe there could come a time again when I could tie my own shoelaces. But I was never a fan of flip-flops…
The identity shift. I remember, for a while after the crash, like, a long while say maybe a year or more, when I started walking again and was striving to get as much normality back to my life as I could, I was almost literally introducing myself to people as “Hey, I’m the gal with two bad knees. Nice to meet you”. Not being able to count on your knees leaves out far more activities than it might seem at first sight. Say bye-bye rock climbing, bye trekking, bye sitting on your knees on the floor, bye high heels, bye running and so on. It was unusual. It wasn’t very me. I could not associate this new body with my old personality. I thought this is what defined me know. Like having a business card saying “two bad knees and a long list of no-go activities”. It’s fair to say that for a while I lived an in between life, somehow being grateful for surviving and wanting to do all the things I didn’t have the chance before, and somehow being constantly held back by my physical issues. Perhaps I was Schrodinger’s cat to a certain extent, neither dead nor alive.
Opening Pandora’s Box
Looking back now at these past 5 years, the “afterwards” years as I call them, I prolly became a more cautious person. Perhaps I no longer introduce myself with my issues first. Perhaps they still hold me back from lots of stuff. My knee issues are not going anywhere and I have days, like today, when I limp all day due to the pain. I remember having this boyfriend, after the crash, who just told me “but don’t you think that people who suffer and are in pain only need more love than those who have it all figured out?” His logic seems flawless at first sight but we, the issued ones, are harder to love. There’s always the constant confusion between pity and care. And smell an ounce of pity and I’m out. Is it easy to accept new, especially bad changes? Hell no. At times I still find myself nostalgically remembering my climbing days and the person I was back then and I know that she will never be back.
Living la vida loca with damages
I remember a business trip we took to Portugal, about 3 years ago. I was really excited to see Portugal. My former flatmate was from there and told me lots of cool shit bout the country. Upon our arrival, first day my phone is stolen while I try to take a group photo of my colleagues. Next day I manage to somehow fall right on my right knee. Which left me about 4 more days of Portugal… from bed. I was lucky to have a great patient colleague who could bear with me (and constantly bring ice for my knee). However, taking a trip with a bad and hurt knee and limping, is surely not a fun thing to do. I was looking at a trail of about 6 kilometres and thinking I couldn’t do it. The trip left some nice memories though, mostly due to my patient colleague who didn’t leave me out of sight.
Some days I can walk 20 something km without any sort of issues and I don’t feel a thing. Other days I can’t even move my left leg due to the pain. Some days I’m the gal taking cute pics in the mountains and other days I can’t even drive my car or walk from a cab to my apartment without help. Some days I believe my issues don’t define me and I got this far, on my own, so all is cool, whereas other days I wonder who could ever enjoy the company of a limping person.
I am not usually a very pinky positive person so I’m not gonna leave some super motivational conclusions. Everyone kept and still keeps telling me that we all have issues. Perhaps it’s true. Perhaps some days I will cry in pain in my room thinking that this is my life now whereas other days I will book a flight somewhere and walk 30 km straight. I remember the doctor that helped me during the physiotherapy, a really tough lady, the kind of woman you don’t wanna mess with. And there were days when the progress I could make was just so small that I wanted to fuckitall and give up. And her attitude was like “if you want to give it up, go ahead, you’re not doing this for me. Do you want to walk again or not? Because if you do, you’re the only one who can make that happen.” So I guess it all comes down, once again, to holding your own hand and lifting yourself up when shit hits the fan. Perhaps some past demons will always stick around, lurking, waiting, watching, laying a soft curtain of painful memories upon the present. Anyway, I’mma leave you with this cheesy quote instead of any other wisdom.