Skip to main content

Walking for a Cause and Walking Away

This past weekend I participated for the second year in the American Heart Association's Start! Heart Walk 2008-09, Tampa Bay. I joined my department's team of six walkers (three of whom raised money)--pretty measly considering how large the Department of English is at USF. I was able to drag in my friend Taylor to walk and talk with me for three miles on a Saturday morning. We arrived at the Raymond James Stadium with time to spare, so we began a hunt for free coffee, which seemed at first an attainable goal. We went from corporate tent to corporate tent, spotting the big green coffee decanters brought to the event for the sole purpose of caffeinating early morning walkers, but being turned away a couple of times because we were not actually part of that corporation's team, or because we were not VIP heart walkers--whatever that meant. Taylor persisted, though, and after conversing in her friendly and unassuming way with the guard of the VIP line, we were told we could go in the back of the tent if coffee was all we wanted (as opposed to the full breakfast buffet offered to VIP members, as though they were preparing to run a marathon rather than complete a three-mile charity walk). With the coveted coffee in hand, we made our way over to our team of six and chatted before the larger USF team went to stand for the photo--a rather burdensome task, it turned out. The camera man was raised in a crane about twenty feet in the air, and try as he did, he could not effectively communicate to his group below. He seemed to be speaking in his normal inside voice, unhurriedly and unauthoritatively, as though we were standing inside the crane carriage next to him. After several shots were eventually snapped, we dispersed from the bleachers and listened to a strikingly young girl belt out "The Star Spangled Banner" while white carrier pigeons were released into the sky (Taylor learned that the pigeons would actually fly home to their owner afterward--such an inquisitive mind she has). The walk began and Taylor and I wasted no time departing from our group (what is this "team" business anyway?). We buzzed past fellow walkers and talked about family, friends, jobs, and quite appropriately, walking. How it clears the head, strengthens the body, and soothes the soul. Well, maybe we didn't say all that, but I thought about that trinity of wellbeing afterward and I decided to apply it metaphorically to a troubled spot in my life.

***

I had recently been sucked (quite willingly) into a fruitless flirtation with a former romantic interest--to use a term of my mother's--and I was experiencing letdown after letdown from this person, yet still maintaining moderately high expectations for him. Our very history was based on bad timing, ineffective communication, and vague definitions of being (yes, much like that). I allowed this person to affect my happiness, or lack thereof, at his convenience, or--dare I say--whim. When another friend asked why I was attracted to this person who I seemingly had little in common with, all I could say after an unnaturally long pause was that I liked how I felt when I was with him. I felt a strong connection. Could I have been alone in that feeling? Unfortunately, our encounters had been entirely in the hands of randomness, as any attempt to plan something with this person failed miserably. For, as I sat with my friend trying to explain why this person had such a hold on me, he was standing me up--us both up--yet again. So I must walk away from him and his unreliable ways. Chance shopping encounters and birthday kisses will not cut it. If he cannot make an effort to show up in my life, I cannot be even an occasional presence in his.

Comments

People Liked to Read...

Surgery Chronicles: Hard Feelings

I'm one and a half weeks out from my second foot surgery, and, by all important measures, I'm doing well. But boy has the past week been difficult. In the first few days post-surgery I was in a pretty good mood; the surgery had gone well, I was in the excellent care of my mom, and I had made it past the last major hurdle of this months-long event. All I had to look forward to was recovery and progress and gradually returning to my normal life, whatever that might look like.

But even though I've gone through this process once already, it's still just as difficult this time around. There's the constant worrying about this weird feeling or that new pain, the accidental step in the middle of the night when I forgot which foot was injured, and the agonizing wait time between appointments. Now it's compounded by concern over whether I'm taking good enough care of my first foot. Did I ruin the surgery when I stubbed my toe falling off an exercise ball? Am I using …

Surgery Chronicles: I Exhale

I've really been holding my breath with this recovery, more so than the last one for some reason. After getting past the three-week point (which was two weeks ago, when I started to write this), I felt a little more at ease. Since then I've been changing my own dressing daily and slowly weaning off of crutches so I can now walk around in the boot—hands-free! I'm still a slave to icing and elevating as much as possible throughout the day. But the very best part? There's no other foot left to do. After this, I'm done, done, done. I can start to return to a life not defined by sitting and waiting and feeling confined and limited and trying my hardest to heal but having little actual control over any of it.

I wrote in my last post about the difficult emotions I'd been having throughout this second surgery recovery. I think I underestimated the psychological toll I would take doing one foot right after the other. And while there was a feeling of elation after gettin…

Surgery Chronicles: 12 Weeks and Progress

I'm now more than 12 weeks recovered from my second (and final!) foot surgery, and life is starting to feel a little more normal. When I last wrote an update, seven weeks ago (still blaming Irma for all of my delays), I had just gotten off of crutches but would wear my boot for two more weeks. I've been out of the boot and walking in shoes for just over five weeks. The constant discomfort I've felt in my foot from swelling is finally starting to wane. I work in the office now, I do my own groceries, and I even attended a work conference recently, which meant lots of walking at airports and the conference hotel, frequent standing, and few opportunities to elevate and ice. I was very concerned about how my feet, particularly the left one, would endure. And while it wasn't comfortable, I made it through, no worse for the wear in the end.

I joined a new gym/community center recently, with a new and beautiful outdoor pool, and I'm so happy that I'm able to use it n…