ankles. and the universe.

If someone were to ask me today how I'm doing, and had approximately one hour to kill, I'd have quite the download for them. I've been reflecting on the last year and what it has meant to me, how I've shown up, and what I keep pushing down...

Lots been going on with me, but the most interesting that I've just woken up to is a bunch of health problems I've had this year, all of which have been showing up to tell me to slow down and root in. Minor aches and pains, mostly on my left side (which, in the woo-woo arena, is your feminine side, which I have woefully neglected and am still try to figure out how to tap into). 

At the same time, I'm so frustrated with my body- it isn't what I want, where I want it to be. I always compare it to where it was 7 years ago, which wasn't a particularly healthy time, but was a skinny time... yup. I've been beating up myself every. single. day. Everytime I look in the mirror, get dressed, see myself on a video conference call... it is like I don't even recognize who that is. 

But I keep pushing myself, making crazy workout plans, bailing out, having health problems crop up. So I get frustrated. About two months ago I got home from an amazing trip to Europe, in which I basically hated on myself the entire time (didn't bring my running shoes, couldn't run, ate delicious food, etc, etc, etc). I remember so clearly sitting on the plane, thinking about how I was going to run every day and do weights and all these things I hated just to get "back on track" (a fucking perpetual process). The main motivator being my brother in law's wedding on August 26th. 

Sure I had fleeting moments of happiness, but I was overall just ashamed of what I'd become and where I was. And am. This isn't a radical physical transformation story. But keep reading.

Anyways, I get back, feeling like shit (which I want to slap myself about because it ws EUROPE that I was sent to for a CLIENT in a job I'm KILLING IT AT. Wake the fuck up Kelly. UGH.), ready to start my outlandish program. 

Bam- second run in, fall trail running and sprain my ankle. Like bad. Thought it was broken for a bit. Get on the chiropractor train, mobility and balancing exercises, rehab it until I'm about 2 weeks out from running again. So I start dreaming, planning, sketching out my workout plan. 

BAM- roll my other ankle. So now I'm rocking two sprained ankles in the height of the summer, 48 hours before I'm set to go to Edmonton on a biz trip for the client that has now hired me (on my own terms) full time, because I'm doing a great job. Cue livid hatred and getting down on myself, with intermittent, "it is okay" moments. I also spent the week in granny shoes paired with pencil skirts- if I wasn't already having raging moments of hating how I looked, this really did me in.

Get home, rehabbing, paying a million dollars to my chiro to get better, feeling better, go for a run or two, all is good. I decide to push it, and run back-to-back one day, feeling super cocky. I actually was running and thinking about how I was going to take a picture at the end of the run and say how grateful I was for being able to run again, hashtag blessed and all that garbage.

BAM. Rolled my ankle again. So now we are up to three ankle injuries in 2 months. I ONLY HAVE TWO ANKLES. I sit there crying, a lady asks me if I want help, I end up limping home all sweaty and sad. Hashtag fucked.

And in all of this, I just keep thinking about this wedding, how August 26th is coming up and I'm going to look like a house in all the photos. Or Quasimodo. Not about the fact that my ankles are messed up and maybe I need to heal. 

Universe, you sneaky bastard. 

As I'm heading over to the island this weekend to hang out on our boat, stepping up onto the ferry ramp...

BAM. Rolled. I gasp and tear up but shuffle on the ferry, trying to keep my shit together. If you're keeping score, that is the fourth injury, third to this particular ankle. 

Get to the island, shuffling to our boat, assessing to see if it is worse or better than the previous times. BECAUSE I'VE DONE THIS SO MANY TIMES I CAN COMPARE SHIT LIKE THAT. Still thinking about the wedding and the photo opps and how I definitely am going to have to wear flats.

Get on board, climbing down the ladder, not as gingerly as I should have... 

BAM. Rolled my ankle. Fifth time, other side, so, roll call, Ankle #1 has been injured twice, Ankle #2 has been injured 3 times.

UGH. (plus some more colourful language and frustrated tears).

Okay, so here is where I actually WAKE UP.

Somehow, I start thinking about how maybe, this crazy restrictive cycle isn't working for me. That I actually need to be compassionate and caring and intuitive. That maybe what I'm doing now isn't working and the Universe got tired of sending little signs like eye problems and rib problems and jaw problems and headaches and tiredness and all the other stress-related physical issues and became a bit more of a heavy hitter. 

BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM.

Um, message received. Sort of. 

The download I got was to just focus on showing up to that wedding, and having fun. It is all family, it will be fun, and pictures aren't the be all and end all. And maybe this is where I'm meant to be, and maybe this will open space and opportunity for other things (I literally just wrote a post on this on my blog, and am literally face palming myself for not connecting the dots when I wrote it). Maybe I need to trust my body, mind and soul. Maybe I need to let my teenybopper body ideals go and instead of trying things that worked then (running obsessively, tracking every morsel, scales, scales, scales), trying new things for this grown-ass lady body I have. Maybe I can try loving myself, as opposed to battling myself. Have fun, not get frustrated.

And oddly enough, a friend asked me on Saturday what my tattoo on my arm says. He has seen it a million times, but for whatever reason (I think we all know the reason- UNIVERSE), he asked what it meant.

"Maitri. It is a Buddhist idea of loving kindness to one's self. Compassion and kindness, and how that by loving oneself, you extend compassion and loving kindness to others."

BAM. Message received.

alex kelly

public health + personal wellness