2 weeks into what I had pictured, an awesome 2-month internship/holiday back at the mother ship, turned into one of the toughest 2 months my 20-year-old self has gone through.
Growing up as a competitive athlete gave me my fair share of injuries; a couple of sprained ankles, a sprained back and the ever always-present weird popping, cracking, soreness you get with the career. Of course, I also saw my own fair share of horrible injuries that I tried to never picture myself going through.
But then again, my young childish mindset begs me on that skipping that one stretch will be fine or pushing whatever worries I have to the back of my mind is okay. As an athlete you tend to prioritize the adrenaline, the competitive spirit, and the thrill of a win and let your body take a back seat. BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER. Of course there was always a mothers reminder but being a stubborn donkey ass teen, I obviously did not listen.
So there I am, on the court floor squealing away like an injured dog thinking at the back of my head, “ Oh dear god, I know it’s kind of too late, but please let this not be serious”. A week or so later and I find out, that yeah, I messed up but for those of you who prefer specifics; the orthopedic came back with my MRI scans which showed a completely torn ACL, MCL and Meniscus.
By the title of this, I’m sure you can infer how bad that was. So life lesson one jumps in at about now,
1: Always take time to reflect
Believe me, I hate self-reflecting as much as the next person does. It’s like uncovering a whole bunch of secrets your ex kept from you one by one. You look at all the parts that went wrong that led up to this moment.
I spent a good amount of time just staring at the ceiling, playing back the mistakes I made. But I knew there was no way for me to move forward if I didn’t try to understand what had caused the situation now. I was my own detective, picking out every clue and dissecting it.
I saw that I let my busy life take over the most important time, time with myself. More often than not, we are afraid of our own thoughts. Ask yourself, “Have I been taking care of my body? Have I been using my time wisely? Have I been treating others properly? Have I been treating myself properly?” It’s so easy for us to look at other people’s lives and judge, but when do we ever stop and judge ourselves?
2: Regrets never did anyone good
You can only imagine the amount of negativity that swirled in my head right about now. With the bottom half of my leg barely hanging on to my knee, what if’s played in my head like a broken record.
“What if I had done something differently? What if I had never played? What if I had never gone for that ball?” It was easy to let myself slump into a spiral of negativity. But taking the easy way was what caused this and I was not going to let myself make any more regrets.
The easiest way to put this is to say that I chose positivity. I chose to surround myself with it. There were obviously many obstacles other than the most obvious being a completely useless right leg. I removed negative people who dragged me down and did not make my process of recovery any easier. Instead, I surrounded myself with people who were there to support me and shower me with their love.
I went on a social media cleanse (well I tried). I recognized that a lot of my negative thoughts were surrounded by my jealousy of others. Like “oh look at her she’s on holiday and here I am in bed doing nothing all day.” How was that thinking ever going to get me back to walking again?
Regrets tie you down and prevent you from moving forward. They keep you in the past instead of thinking about the future. As soon as I took my first few steps at forgiving myself, I started to see everything in a new light.
It took me a while to get this. I mean I should have seen more parallels with sports ethics and life. One of the techniques I used as an athlete was positive reinforcement.
Instead of saying “ You could have gone for that ball or stop doing this” I tried to change my thoughts or my cheers to others to “Your defence was great or you can get this goal”. I imagined myself doing awesome interceptions and scoring goals. Why didn’t I apply this to my life sooner?
Going to countless physiotherapy appointments, icing numerous times a day, everything became easier. I took the energy into focusing on short-term goals like getting my swelling down or getting my weak leg stronger. Things became easier to handle to cope with and I saw my path to recovery becoming clearer.
I also saw my attitude to coping with other situations improving. I tried to not let little things upset me and instead tried to understand my situation and my emotions. Not only did I see myself getting better, but my positivity reflected onto those around me and inspired them as well.
Most importantly, when your down in the dumps you begin to treasure even more those tiny details. Like how I celebrated being able to put my foot down on the ground or even putting myself back into my younger self and learning how to walk again; something I will never take for granted again.
Not only that, but those who stuck by me. Who pushed me everywhere in a wheelchair, who drove me back and forth to physio or who just made the extra mile to see me. Those people taught me that there is no greater healing than love.
5: It really is okay not to be okay
And finally just like Jessie j says, it really is okay not to be okay. So yeah some days your going to fall flat on your butt and tear your knee, so yeah sometimes its going to take you months to get back up again, so yeah your hurt. Some things are unavoidable because shit happens.
But it’s what you choose to do with these moments, whether you chose to just sit and wait endlessly for help or to get the fuck up and limp your way back to walking. Who knows, you might just learn a thing or two.
I sure did.