Sometimes I wonder if I am a positive person, or if I am just faking the lifestyle of a positive person. Can you consider yourself a positive person if you have to constantly remind yourself to be positive?
I’ve been hiding from this website because I feel like a fraud. People sometimes write to say I am honest and inspirational and determined and positive, and I feel guilty as I’ve not felt like any of those for a wee while.
Over the past month I tried to dilute how bad this injury crap has made me feel, so not to come across as a self-pitying whiner. But last week it all boiled over and I was not a nice person to live with. I stomped around, mentally composing entries full of anger and frustration and general woe. I stopped short of actually writing them, because after a few hours and perhaps some perspective from the Scottish Companion, I’d simmer down. I’d sniff out the positives like a truffle pig, then go back and edit out all the venom.
Then on Saturday around 3AM, I finally sat down at the keyboard and exploded! In the textual sense. About 800 words of pure rantage.
I knew I was being irrational and I knew other people had terrible diseases and all manner of proper tragedies. I knew that I had lost perspective on a trifling sporting injury. So I ranted to imaginary readers, begging them not to write and tell me to get over it or I would just cry. And as much as I’d appreciated everyone’s medical advice and exercise tips of late, I wasn’t looking for that today. I just needed the world to let me vent. RAH!
I’ll go through the rubble of the entry and give you a quick summary.
First I wrote about how the lack of exercise was making me feel down. I’d been off "full schedule" for over a month. I missed the structure it gave to my days, I missed the sense of purpose, the sweat, the spreadsheets. Most of all I missed the happy chemicals in the brain.
Then came a dozen paragraphs re my frustration at not being able to take advantage of the good weather and ride my brand-new bike.
And how it’s all my fault because I neglected the knee for almost a year.
And how I’ve been consumed by anger at myself for not listening to my body or my head for so long.
How I valued the opinion of others above my own my brain and pain, because I assumed they knew what was best for my body more than I did, since they were skinnier/smaller.
How I therefore started exercising again too soon and caused further damage.
How didn’t take myself or the pain seriously.
Like how I never went back to the physio I saw last June, because in my fat girl paranoia I felt like I was wasting his time. After all I was just a fat chick flirting with exercise, not a legitimate sporty person. How could a big lump like me possibly have a real injury?
Hmm, what else?
How I was frustrated because I’d gained a pound. Only A Pound but that meant yet another month had ended with no progress, making three months with no significant loss.
How these last 6 kilos are proving the most difficult and stressful than any of the other 70-something already gone.
I almost edited out that sentence, as I don’t want to insult people who have far more left to lose. Five years ago I would have killed to be where I am now. But as someone who has filled the shoes of Staggeringly Obese, Obese, Still Pretty Fat and Almost Healthy Weight all for extended periods of time, I can honestly say this stage is somehow the most overwhelming and frustrating of all.
Thankfully for anyone still reading, I ran out of steam after that. I hit Save Draft and headed for bed, not before seething with bitterness until about 4AM.
Saturday morning I got up and forgot about the computer. I ate banana on toast, watched the MotoGP qualifying, kissed the Scottish Companion goodbye, then hopped on a plane for London.
A ridiculous seven hours later (thanks to the joys of public transport delays), I was walking through Hyde Park. Previously I’d only been to London in the winter, so I lapped up the grassy breeze, the trees, the rollerbladers and roses; the kamikaze insects splattered on my sunglasses.
Quite simply, I could feel my body and brain finally begin to chill the fuck out.
There’s something about being in the Big Bad City that always brings perspective. All those people from all over the planet, so busy busy busy getting on with all kinds of lives.
I caught the train back home yesterday, for variety. It was the most blissful four hours I’ve spent in ages. No computer, no phone and a quiet, near-empty carriage. Just me and the sandwiches, grapes, trashy magazines, Gareth’s iPod and a tiny wee bar of Green and Blacks chocolate.
Looking out the window at the English countryside in its green and glorious Englishness, I decided it was time to give the boot to all the crazy anger and anxiety I’ve been dragging round for weeks.
I even sniffed out a few positives from this injury debacle:
1. It’s a learning experience. I sure as hell won’t ignore my body again.
2. It makes for a small, albeit tedious sub-plot in the Dietgirl story.
And speaking of which!
3. The enforced rest has given me more time to write! I met my self-imposed deadline for May of completing the first draft of 2001. I cut it a wee bit fine by finishing at 11.45 PM on May 31, but I did it! Baby steps actually work!
I’ve also dragged out my old pedometer. Walking shall be my main exercise until the knee improves and I will obsessively count my steps, cannily satisfying my need to be obsessive about numbers.
Maybe this is what being a positive person is – the ongoing management of the way you react to life’s little challenges. You can shit your pants for awhile, but then you try to sift through the shit and salvage the good stuff. I mean, surely no one is positive about everything straight away? Don’t you have to mull it over awhile and then decide how you’ll deal with it? Or maybe there are genuine 100% cheery optimists out there, always on duty. If so, I’d like to punch them all in the face.