An ode to laughter and the art of learning how.

I feel like I have been through a lot lately without really going… anywhere.  It is hard to feel like there is progress in the midst of whatever may be happening to you.  So I have been trying to reflect positively on a comparison of the last year rather than a lifetime.

A year ago, I was sleeping 20 hours a day.  I was unable to walk.  I was bed ridden for four months although I did not adhere to that amount of time off of my foot.  I had broken my tibia vertically where it connects to the ankle as well as compacted my ankle joint with the “jamming” effect my tibia had when running down into my ankle.  The result was outpatient surgery and having to graft bone in order to rebuild the compacted piece.  This left me in lots of pain, extremely tired, and doped up as much as I could be for as long as the medications would last.

Today, I have successfully climbed Angel’s Landing at Zions National Park.  I hiked Cape Point – the most Southern tip of South Africa.  I revisited yoga in February overwhelmed by fear and inability.  I started without being able to do any jumps or hold a simple warrior pose or lunge without falling.  Today, I can hold inverted headstands for minutes, and I can move from an extended lunge through to Warrior 3 and tree pose with far less falling over or excruciating pain.  I also taught Stark how to snowboard in February – a hobby he dove full force into with all brand new gear and the full intention of going every weekend for the rest of the season, which we did.  Now that it is July, I am right on track with my goals now that Stark and I have dove fully into a new sport – rock climbing.  We were both fitted for shoes as uncomfortable as we could stand and have found ourselves spending as much time as possible at the rock climbing gym on our new favorite toy, the tread wall (an ever-moving inverted treadmill built for intermediate climbers).

Although I talk about it a lot, I know that overcoming this physical battle has been something that I am strongly attached to, but is mostly boring to other people.  I was made fun of and called out quite a lot by friends and family who thought that mentioning behind my back how my injury was not a big deal and that I was exaggerating it would somehow be a motivator for me to “get over it.”  Despite my blogging efforts, I am a very private person when it comes to the true details of what I am experiencing.  I have never explained to anyone how it was not just an ankle break, fixed with a two week cast and only Stark witnessed the amount of yelling, screaming pain I went through before and after surgery.  But again, overcoming this physical battle is not all that has happened in the last year.

I started out a year ago forcing myself to take my own advice.  Having been in a crazy relationship previously that ended over-dramatically with what, to me, was a total lack of dedication to the romanticized idea of “love conquers all,” I decided I could not be a hypocrite.  I found myself in a situation where I would have to take a complete leap of faith, dropping every comfort I had surrounded myself with in order for my new relationship to survive.  Either way, it would be hard, but if I would have continued being the person I was before – in constant overdrive, working 60+ hours a week and attempting to capitalize on an endless amount of education, I would have never even had this chance.  So I gave up what I was doing for many reasons. I gave up my job to trust that I could recover and that Stark would help me.  I gave up my job so that no one else would have to lose their job – people who needed the work more than I did, who intended on staying there when I had been trying to get out for over a year already.  I gave up my obsession in working for Sony Musicthe constant social lifestyle of attending multiple concerts each week and the force of having to stay in the constant limelight of what’s up and coming.  I slowed down, way down and I went through a detox of my previous high-powered life of instant gratitude and overwhelming calendar invites.

I don’t expect anyone to understand how this was the most difficult choice I had ever made in my life.  My entire sense of pride centered around my ability to do everything and to do it well.  Now, I had not only decided to give up everything I defined myself as, but I was physically incapable.  In my previous life, I had expected that sort of leap from others.  I had always demanded the control of past boyfriends coming to me, moving in with me, and changing their life and career in order for me to keep mine.  Even before that, I thought I had made my leap when I moved back to Utah to get married.  I was engaged to an old flame – someone I didn’t even keep in touch with.  Everything about it was fast and unplanned.  It was hard to be considerate when there were so many things to consider so instantly.  This was the third attempt at the same relationship and marriage was no cure.  All three times I became someone not worth fighting for, who could easily walk away in sad moments without ever being seen or heard from again.  I was someone not worth fighting for because he believed, more than anything, that my work and my music was more important to me than he ever could be.

I cannot say that I lost in any of those eras of my life.  I went on each time to live an amazing an adventurous life full of experiences and travel.  I know better than anyone that I would have never stopped the constant burn-out lifestyle if I had not totaled a motorcycle and wound down to the consideration of what was real.

Just over a year ago, I was surrounded by the comfort of spent time; the consideration of do-factors and completions like every day was a constant reward system to my ability.  I never really had to think about anything or feel anything I did not want to experience because every minute of my life proved a new distraction.  My life was too high speed to live for a moment in any sort of real emotion.  I was as happy as I was depressed.  I was as accomplished as anyone with a to-do list.  I really wasn’t much of anything at all.

Sure, I had accomplished certain things that earned me the life I live now, with Stark.  There were choices I had made and goals that I had that made me somewhat distinguishable and different from all the other girls.  The only thing that wasn’t good about it, was that I had built a life of glass – where I was only ok if I was alone, dependent only on myself without having to share or consider what other’s might need.  I had a brand new limited edition sports car.  I had my own little house, 1300 square feet of all that was me – my ability to cook, my art, my office, an endless display of music posters all signed with thanks and personalized to me, and furniture that I had personally gone to battle with to redo and raise the value to thousands of dollars a piece.  I played records as often as I played piano.  I spent all my time working or with my dog.  The only working out I ever had to do was in an attempt to wind down or the three or more times a day that I took Rosie for a brief run through a neighborhood that I loved living in.  Downtown.  I was finally done with school.  Done with 40 page papers and 20 page presentations.  Done with theories and proposals.  I was done learning how to communicate and do business.  Somehow I had no intention of really doing either.  I just wanted to write a book and after so many years of looking for that “graduated position,” I was starting to settle into the comfort of just remaining the same – same house, same car, same life, same job.  The most I was going to get out of life at that moment was the adventure of buying a motorcycle.  And I did… I owned it for five minutes.

Those five minutes drastically changed my life and it’s direction.  I cannot say that it necessarily changed who I am.  I can still be very bitter.  I am intensely motivated.  I am extremely hard on myself.  I have high expectations.  I love the same things.  I have the same passions.  I have the same intensions.  Ironically, in experiencing so much physical pain I have somehow been transformed into someone who is willing to feel much more of everything.  I have bought into the idea of being happy.  I am ok with the idea of suffering more intensity.  And over the last year, I have learned to give as much thought to being happy as I was previously giving to being busy.  The idea of “accomplished” has shifted from human-doings to my very being. I have been met with near daily doses of  complete discouragement when facing myself and my attempt to trust other’s judgement as me as I move to a limbo area of thinking other’s may know me better than I know myself.  But, my hard-working nature through my previous life has shifted most willingly to the hard-work of breaking through.

This is my ode to the relief of genuine laughter and the desire for it in my life, always.

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2 responses to “An ode to laughter and the art of learning how.

  1. Wow! Love this post. I also had a phsycial battle to overcome…..well, I’m still trying to overcome it. Actually some may consider it a cosmetic battle but I don’t think anybody other than the person experiencing it can truly understand the significance and “realness” of such a thing. Look forward to reading your posts and hope to hear from you on mine.

    • Thank you for the post compliment.

      Although I don’t know what you have been through, I understand how it feels to be seen as an insignificant battle. I truly understand more than ever how battles are personal and tailored to what it is we need to overcome in life – whether it is a battle to be physically fit when you’re already skinny or a battle to overcome a surgery.

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