Sunday, August 5, 2012

Walk It Off

When I was in high school, I played a little bit of rugby. Shocking, right? I know I seem like a meek and mild lady who prefers embroidery and fine china to mouth-guards and cleats, but that's simply not the case. I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to be tackled to the ground by another girl, shoved in the mud and have half a dozen angry ladies trample over you in their attempt to get the ball you're holding like a security blanket. And that's just rucking and mauling, I don't even want to get into a propping and locking. Oh dear, I reckon that's a nerdy joke only rugby players might get.

Our team had this coach who, simply put, must have been out of his freaking mind. I mean, he actually volunteered to coach the girls' team. Hanging around fifteen chicks who are going through puberty and right in the middle of the most awkward stages in their lives doesn't really seem like a good time. But, he liked rugby and coaching, and honestly, he did a pretty good job. The team wasn't all that bad. This isn't about rugby or the fond memories I have of the hair pulling and biting, and that was just travelling to the games on the bus. This is about our coach and this absolutely bonkers saying he had. Every time one of us got hurt, which pretty much happened every practice and game, he used to say, "Walk it off."

And it's funny, because today as I did a two hour trek around this gorgeous lake in the heart of Burnaby the saying just popped into my head. One moment I was thinking about this lily in the middle of the lake and how I wanted to get a picture of it and then *pop* there it was. It's so strange how you don't think about something for years and years, and then, all of a sudden, it's crystal clear in your mind and you're knee deep in old memories you'd completely forgotten about. It happened when I was camping too. Except, that memory was about super personal family junk and I won't be sharing it with you. Not that you aren't special. You are. Just not that special.

Getting back on subject, as I walked around this park/lake/lovely part of the city, I was thinking about how when you've twisted your ankle or have a dislocated shoulder 'walking it off' is a ridiculous notion. I mean, it's physically dangerous to do it. But for other emotional or mental ailments, it's actually kind of genius.

Hmmm. I fear I'm doing a crappy job of explaining this. Let me break it down for you.

About one year, three months and seventeen days ago, I was completely broken. Shattered soul. Fractured heart. Mangled morals. Lost little lamb, really. I didn't know who I was, had forgotten where I'd come from, and ended up hurting someone I never intended or wanted to hurt. Not that I'm big on hurting anyone. Or anything. Regardless, I decided to strip my life bare and start again, and I did it all for the sake of fixing myself. Like I've said a million (only slightly hyperbolic) times before, you can't be happy with others if you aren't happy with yourself.

The thing is, pulling the trigger is harder than one might think. At times in order to get happy, you have to force yourself to live on Misery Lane for awhile. From experience, Misery Lane is bleak, ugly and not exactly a place you invite friends and family around for a visit.  It's cold there. And the darkness is suffocating. There's no streetlamps or anything, which means it's hard to find your way out of the darkness and into the light. Misery Lane is where you break hearts and homes, and it's hard breaking hearts and homes. Especially when it is your own heart and home you're breaking.

That's why a lot of people stay unhappy, because they can't fathom the idea of hurting more than they are, they can't handle the pain of Misery Lane, so they remain in their broken state. And I don't blame them. Sometimes it's easier to deal with the heartache we know than face the heartache of the unknown.

But here's the thing, after one year, three months and seventeen days, roughly, I'm a different girl. Similar to the  one who existed before the last ten years happened, but also so much better. I give love without expecting it in return and I understand the importance of silly things like affection, playing, laughing and cake. Even more so, my music knowledge has at least tripled. Not to mention, I have developed an extensive vocabulary that allows me to write some pretty nifty sentences from time-to time and I absolutely slay at Scrabble. Well, if I'm not distracted and it isn't late at night and it's not too hot.

So, how the hell do these events tie together? What does my old miserable self have to do with my high school rugby days and quirky coach and how do those things tie in with my hike today?

It's all pretty simple. I walked it off.

Misery Lane, heartache, and the darkness. I walked it all off. Advice I was given years ago, came into play without me even knowing it. I never consciously set out to walk off my hurt and confusion. It just happened. But once I started walking, through parks and forests, along beaches and even short jaunts up to the grocery store, things became easier. My senses cleared. And I saw the world around me.

Walking afforded me the luxury of going slower, of opening my eyes and taking note of the world as it was and how it changed every day. Somewhere along the line I started to realize how everything on its own seemed so insignificant, even my own existence, but together it formed the earth. I saw balance. Give and take. I saw the importance of togetherness - of love and respect and hope. And I saw beauty. Everywhere. All around me.

If you asked me two years ago what the most important piece of advice about life I had was, I'd have said something jaded about not trusting anyone and how apathy and ignorance will be our downfall. But now, it's all about beauty and truth, and the only piece of advice I have is to move with love. It's strange to think how night and day I am. It's not to say I don't have cynical moments or at times lapse back into my misanthropic ways. No. Those are a part of me.

Now I see a bigger picture, though. A path. A journey I'm smack dab in the middle of. And to be very honest with you, right now, life is pretty amazing.

Oh, and I took some pictures, for those people who prefer them to words.


Greg Edwards said...

I enjoyed this post immensely. It struck a chord with me (not just due to the rugby either... I'm still coming to grips with that).

I have a lot of walking off to do and I think that it's about bloody well time that I set out.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Tyson said...

First step is the hardest. Second...not so bad.