Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bittersweet... but mostly sweet.

So I've been a big mishmash of stuff the last couple of days. 

As is probably really clear by now, I'm a pretty physical person. (Um, duh.) I love being outside. I love running. I love running on trails. I love moving in general. And clearly, I can't do a lot of that now. 

What people who know me well also know is that I'm an extremely independent person. I hate asking people for help. I have a lot of stories running around in my head about what it means to ask for help-- well, what it means for ME to ask for help. I think everyone else in the world should ask for help if they need it... just not me. The most difficult year of my life (so far), I spent totally convinced that I could "handle it," even when I was falling apart and so completely on auto-pilot it wasn't even funny. People asked me, "What can I do?" and I said "I'm fine"-- over and over again. 

I can't do that right now. I live in the 'hood. I'm not going to crutch it home from the bus stop at night, and the nearest big grocery store is a good 1/2 mile away (and good luck carrying a basket and crutches at the same time!). I'm also not going to move out of my house for 6 weeks,  so I am stuck rather dependent on people. I live by myself, so it's not like I can ask a housemate/partner/family member to pick me up or drop me off or generally do any of the random daily chores that don't seem like a big deal but really are when you can't go more than 3 blocks without feeling exhausted and breaking out in a sweat. (Crutches= big fun.) 

Thus the "Bitter" part of this post. 

Yeah. Now for the "Sweet" part. As I said before, my friends/coworkers/former foster daughter have been absolutely amazing. While it may seem like a big "duh" to outsiders, the realization that I have this incredible safety net of people who care about me and who are willing to drive to the 'hood to take me to the grocery store or drive me to Bart, etc., is not such a "duh" to me. Actually, let me clarify that. I've always known I have good people around me. I've never really felt like I had to *ask* them for stuff before, though. Laboring under the delusion that I can "do it all" (and I consciously know this is SUCH a delusion, because really, who among us can really "do it all?"), I've never felt like I had to ask multiple people, multiple times over, for their help and support. One of my friends pointed out though, that when people ask, "What can I do to help?", what they REALLY mean is, "What can I do to help?" and I might just want to hear what they're actually asking for as opposed to turning it into some other story in my own head. 

So I've been letting people help. And it's a) allowed me to get to work and b) been weird and c) showed me that letting people help you is a whole different way of caring for others and being cared about.

I haven't written about my former foster daughter on here at all, because it has nothing to do with trail running, but her reaction to this has shown how important letting people help me actually is. For the first time ever, she can "take care of me" in a way that she never has been able to, and seeing how much it means to her has made me think that maybe this stupid fracture is really one of the best things that could have happened to me. And if I hadn't broken my foot, I don't know how or when she would have been able to help me out this way. 

So while I have spent some time being highly irked at my limited mobility and lack of aerobic exercise, I am also aware that this has been a big slap over the head on the part of the universe, reminding me that I am actually quite blessed, and I should stop whining about how I want to be running.

My poem for the day:

Thank you very much for everything.
I have no complaints whatsoever.

"a personal prayer" by Hugh Redmond


Donald said...

Your mindset doesn't sound that unusual, really ... I think a lot of ultrarunners have a mentality of self-sufficiency, and are reluctant to admit needing help from others to get through a challenge. I'm right there with you when asking for help is the hardest thing to do.

Having said that, there are times in life when we are forced to rely upon others, and that's where you are now. As you've seen, those times help us to appreciate others and make connections that you wouldn't have done otherwise. Then after you get through this period, you'll be more likely to pay somebody back in their own time of need.

Anne Carlson said...

So there's another one of those family traits. It's a hard one to buck. But let me tell you from experience, it is good for your friends to let them help you. The best ones are the people who ask if they can do a specific task or show up with dinner when you weren't expecting it. It is harder with the ones who ask, "Is there anything I can do?" Find something. Hope you are even now healing. Just think of those little bones knitting together. Don't forget to rest.

Rick Gaston said...

I'm the same way. I can give help, lot's of it but I hate getting it from others. In the case of these big races i don't even use crew or pacers anymore. I hate asking for help. You're right though letting people do something for you is a great thing and it makes your relationships wit them richer. Hope you're enjoying the weekend.

my blog said...

well i am also like this


deconstructing pam said...

"So I've been letting people help. And it's a) allowed me to get to work and b) been weird and c) showed me that letting people help you is a whole different way of caring for others and being cared about."

it's a very powerful way to love and be loved:) but, i hope you get better soon too!

Jean Pommier said...

Very nicely said, Victoria!
Good luck and patience for a good recovery,

Farther Faster