Cheers to the fall

In March this year, I fell off my bike and completely shattered my forearm and shoulder.  Three hours of surgery, one metal plate, 9 pins and a stay in hospital later, I was discharged home.  Being “fairly young” (surgeons exact words), I was                    expected to make a full recovery.

Physically, the prognosis seemed likely.  I’m fairly healthy (my exact words) and not shy to exercise.   But I just wasn’t prepared mentally for the initial helplessness I felt after the injury and the impact that had on me psychologically. I had been confronted with the fragility of the human body.  My body.  My fragility. My mortality.

I had gone from being a mother and care giver, to needing someone to help me wash, bath, eat, do my hair and help me to look after my son.

In some ways as time progressed things got harder.   I walked in constant fear and hyper vigilance, permanently petrified that someone would bump into my arm.  With the sling gone, there was no visual clue to say “Please don’t barge me I’m injured”  (Which should be a general rule for all pedestrians – but like anyone who has walked the Brixton High Street gauntlet from the Tube station, past Iceland until H&M knows, it’s each person for themselves, buggy or shopping trolley during rush hour.)

Fear and vulnerability become your daily way of life and after a while it’s becomes a tough mindset to get out of.

Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by love and support.  Not just from my amazing friends and family, but with small acts of kindness from complete strangers.  People would stop and offer to tie my shoe laces for me, even when insisted I was fine, or hold a doors, bags or the bubba.  Once a Good Samaritan even carried my bags all the way to my door step.  Those acts of kindness made me remember the beauty of humanity and the resilience of the human spirit, inspiring me to find the strength to push past my fears.

So I’m proud to announce that this week was first time since my accident that I got back on a bike.  Physically, I could probably have done it a couple of months ago, but we are all on our own journeys and this time mine took a little bit longer.

So thank you 2017 for showing me the beauty of true friendship, humanity, my inner strength and teaching me that it doesn’t matter how
many times you fall off that bike- GET BACK ON! Xx

 

 

Life lessons Vs Resolutions

It’s that time of year.

But I don’t believe in new year resolutions.

I believe in

Looking back.

It’s that time of year.

I am reliving the times of frustration, sadness, overwhelming happiness and achievement over the past 345 days.

Looking forward.

I start to plan the future and digest the life lessons that I have received.

My mind jumps back to November.

Heart pounding, I crash into the spin studio at the gym. I’m late. By this I mean I have arrived five minutes early for the class, but a minute too late to procure my trusty spin bike. Nestling quietly in the corner in the back row, my trusty companion now had a new owner. My chance of back row, dimly lit anonymity had vanished.

The 90s House and Garage starts to pumps as the situation gets worse.   The only bike left is at the front of class. The bikes reserved for the ‘Gym Fit ‘ Girls (GFGs). The type that run to the gym in Dry Fit outfits that colour co-ordinate with their Free Runners: gym hair (high messy pony) and perfect face of nude make up complete the uniform.

I am not her.

Nor do I want to be.

But the pressure and fear of sitting on that bike was real. As I mounted the pedestal bike, I could hear myself doling out the obligatory compliments, apologies and excuses for my presence and upcoming performance.  Gripped with fear, I hear the pace of the music picking up.  I approach effort level 11 worried about what I must look like compared to my GFG neighbours.

Rationally you can tell yourself “Nobody has the energy to waste looking at you!” And it’s true. But then we get to the Solo Sprints. The part of the class where everyone has to stop spinning and watch you, as your row sprint as fast as they can for 60 seconds. Even safe on old faithful, in my dimly lit corner, I’d fear this part of the class. And now, being in the front row, I had the honour of going last.

As I wait for our turn to “..show the class how it’s done!” my anxiety mounts.  The Mexican wave of sprinting spinners descends on the front row like a tsunami.   The buzzer sounded and instinctively I just closed my eyes.  And then the most liberating thing happened.

I was alone.

I stopped worrying about what I looked like to others. Stopped worrying that I didn’t belong there. All I cared about was cycling as fast as I could.

I had stopped worrying about how I was perceived by others.

I remember the anxiety I first felt when starting to write my blog.  The feeling of vulnerability and exposure and judgment.  The concern of what my family and friends would think of my writing. My parenting skills.  My questionable gym wear choices.

But the less I worry about other people’s perceptions – the happier I am.

Whether I fail or succeed, I am happier.  I am free.

And that is my life lesson for 2015.

What’s yours?

Continue reading “Life lessons Vs Resolutions”