I fell flat on my face, on multiple occasions, over the past two weeks.
There are few things more embarrassing than eating concrete during morning rush hour at a busy bus stop (hooray, Hurdman station). But my balance issues go back a bit further than that morning I was racing the bus.
I’m notorious for bus-chasing, because I typically don’t miss a bus that I intend to catch. My middle school 100m sprint skills have not let me down, though I failed to account for one of the things that have changed in my life since I was 12 years old. After years of aggressive use, my ankles aren’t quite what they used to be. Since the ninth grade, my ankles have taken the brunt of the impact for my body – from wrestling season into rugby season, year after year. That high-impact force was replaced with pavement-smashing road races. I challenged myself this year by participating in the MEC trail race series, which my ankles were even less enthusiastic about.
Here I am now, trying to re-teach my ankles how to hold me up, and it hasn’t worked out quite so well yet. My body kinda hates me right now, and for good reason. I wouldn’t trust me either, since I’m not exactly an expert on balance.
Crashing into the sidewalk sucks, but so does burnout after a week of forcing myself to work extra hours, despite not having the time to commit to do so, and accepting the realities of workplace abuse just to get the job done…
I wasn’t very good at balance during my undergrad. Emotionally, I was probably 80-20 — at risk of toppling over any moment and crumbling into ruins. Physically, however, I was surprisingly resilient. Over the years, my body has forgiven me for some ugly cuts and bruises, stitches in my eyelid, and a variety of bizarre illnesses (remember West Nile Virus?)
It’s been four weeks since I’ve committed to working with a personal trainer, and one of my biggest challenges right now is my balance. I can’t say with any certainty that I’ll be able to turn things around, but so far, my shaky ankles are committed to holding me up for as long as the rest of me puts in some work. I’m not saying I’ll be joining Cirque du Soleil anytime soon, but I’m hoping to stand tall at 60-40 — a work-in-progress, but mostly stable on her feet.