This morning as I was driving towards the motorway, I watched with interest as at car in front appeared to tailgate the vehicle in front. I agreed, that the vehicle was going slow, but it couldn’t help it as was there was equally slow car ahead. So I settled in for another slow run.
As we turned to the corner to head up the hill, it became apparent that the blue 4×4 really was going slow. There was a long gap between the blue car and anything ahead. Mmm, I thought, remembering what I had been taught as I learned to drive, they are leaving a long gap as there is so little room behind. If it has to brake, it can brake slowly . Sensible. I felt magnanimous towards the blue car and a rising irritation, and resentment towards the tailgater.
Turning another corner, and now travelling at 40kph with clear road ahead, my focus shifted towards the blue car driver. Okay. You’ve made your point. Some of us have work to get to. I started to be annoyed at both drivers. One simultaneously for both tailgating and not overtaking. The other for selfishly hogging the road due to some self righteous belief that they were doing the right things and teaching tailgater a lesson. My mood darkened. I swore quietly, and the loudly. Do they not have places to go to? Do they not realise the importance of this meeting that I have left scant time to get to on time? Dropping, dropping, dropping…my good mood was on its last legs.
Then I saw it. The reason that they were travelling so close, and the back one manoeuvring so unpredictable was because it was being towed. Nothing had changed in what I could see, only the value I placed on it. My mood changed instantly. But I was curious. How a change of perspective can alter one’s mood so completely and instantaneously.
It’s not the first time this week that I’ve had to take on a change of perspective to avoid sitting in despair.
Anyone that spends any time, even a short time, with me soon come to know that I like to lift heavy shit. Lifting things, pushing things, pulling things gives me a sense of power and solidity. It grounds me. It soothes me and has an almost meditative quality. It’s me and the bar. No one can really help. I either move it or I don’t. It gives such a feeling of both competence and confidence, all the while with an awareness of my own vulnerability. It is as good for my mental health as it is my physical. For the first time since I swam as a kid, I have found an activity that I am naturally good at. That I want to practice.
It’s not been easy though. On going issues with my hip (now hips), general anatomy and mobility have made it hard for me to squat deep enough consistently. This has been an exercise in perseverance and experimentation. Change my feet, change my shoes, change the bar position. Knees out, chest up, ankles mobilised with in an inch of their lives. Pause squats,banded squats goblets squats. Magnesium, ibuprofen, bcaas. Yoga, stretching, sleeping, resting.
All of this led me to a position that worked. I was finally getting depth 80-90% of the time. Even when I wasn’t wearing my proper lifting shoes.
Then I went to see the osteopath. The hip went pop on the second day of my new heavy squat programme. Already seeing the Physio for my dodgy elbow and being too embarrassed to mention that I’d hurt another part of my body, I took myself off to the osteopath. He did his regular testing. Bend. Stretch. Does that hurt? Then he asked me to squat?
“Is that how you always squat?”
Me, avoiding eye contact “Yes?”
“Well there is your problem”
My clever use of a duck foot stance cause my knee to rotate and my hip to rotate internally instead of externally ( I think this is what he said…I was too busy catastrophizing to pay fll attention). I can’t do it any other way. I’ve tried. I can’t make depth. I have a competition in 5 weeks and I can continue to hurt my hip all for the sake of saying I got some numbers on the board. Or I can flag it. Automatically I felt terrible. I am a lifter that can’t lift. Again. No competition. No girls trip to Whangarei. He thinks its Femoral Acetabullar impingement. Snap! Just what the physio said about the other hip that has taken such a long time to come right. Basically, the femur doesn’t move properly in the hip.Catches the ligament. Often coursing tearing.Sometimes congenital. Sometimes not. Always really, bloody irritating. Wait. No. Devastating.
It seemed important to stay positive. Or at least appear to. It isn’t the end of the world, but the beginning. I didn’t believe it. I was hopeless. Again.
Despondency aside, there was a workout booked with my idol and facebook wifey for the next day. She said she would scale for me but I said no, took some painkillers and headed off to the box. I’ve always wanted to try Olympic weightlifting and she of the bodyweight snatch was a good person to teach me. Practicing with a broom stick, then with a bar and then BOOM! Its all on. Every minute on the minute doing a couple of reps and then increasing the weights. These complicated moves got me back in to my happy place. Meditation at the bar. And I was good. First attempt and I got what people try for years.
“You really should consider doing this!” says Facebook wifey.
And there it was. I could see the tow rope.
My strength was not wasted. There were probably many things that I could do with it. Of which Oly lifting was only one. Nothing had changed. I wasn’t stronger than the day before. Just being helped to view through another lens. This morning in the car, I was losing sight. It was early. I was tired and fragile. I had to work hard on not walking into the gym and sobbing at giving up my goal. But I reminded myself. Always look for the tow rope. There are great new things ahead and I’m all about the new things.