“Why should I be unhappy? Every parcel of my being is in full bloom.” ~Rumi
More than once over the course of the past two weeks I have had someone express sympathy for me and my herniated disc. I appreciate the care and concern for my well-being, but I don’t know what to say when someone tells me that they are sorry for what I’m going through. Why should someone feel sorry for me having herniated a disc? It’s not like it is anyone’s fault and certainly not the fault of the one saying sorry. Yes, it sucks that I herniated a disc. It sucks that I am in pain, that I am limping because I’m experiencing numbness and weakness in my leg. It sucks that my ability to perform ordinary activities has been hampered. This sucks in all of these ways and more. This is true; however, I really do not feel sorry for myself, so why should anyone else.
I know I am a far cry from a world class athlete, but humour me here for a moment. How many world class (Olympic, NHL, NFL, etc) athletes experience an injury at some point in their quest to be one of the best? When they experience an injury, I wonder how they feel about it. Do they feel sorry for themselves? Or do they accept it as part of the journey, another hurdle to jump in the pursuit of their goals? I don’t have the answer to those questions, but I wonder. Of course, some injuries are career-finishing for an athlete; however, most serious athletes experience injuries with some regularity over the course of their athletic career.
While there may be moments, like excruciating pain in the middle of the night moments where I sort of feel sorry for myself, quite honestly, I just don’t. How can I? Why should I? As the quote above says, every parcel of my being is in full bloom! In my short powerlifting life, I have had many positive experiences and a few not so positive ones. Actually, I’d say the positive experiences have heavily outweighed the negative. Ironically enough, my “worst” experience was earlier this year at Provincials, and that only makes this most recent competition all the better in my eyes.
This last competition was one of my best. Actually, I think I can say that it was my best competition, even though I didn’t set new personal bests in every lift. I had so many goals going into this competition, big ones and small ones. There were goals that I was vocal about and those that I kept close to my chest, and I achieved them all. I wanted those records (and I got them), but those were just gravy. I’ve had a tough year plagued with injuries, so being able to put together a perfect performance to reach all of my goals was simply amazing. I am proud of what I accomplished. Not only did I have to come back from the previous injuries, but I also had to push through my own mental blocks. I worked hard these past few months and it showed on the platform. I am proud of myself, and there is no room for regret or self-pity.
So don’t feel sorry for me! There is no need to apologize for something you didn’t cause and cannot alter. This wasn’t part of my plan or something I expected or wanted to happen, but it did and I can’t change that now. And yet, the fact that I did herniate my disc cannot change the fact that I broke a World record or that I had such an awesome competition. Feeling sorry for myself won’t get me anywhere, so I choose to remain proud of my accomplishments. As for the herniation…well, I am just going to attack that challenge like every other challenge, one day at a time and with as much grace and strength of character as I can muster.