24 May, 2017

I Was My Only Limit

It took London, and a break away from my real life for me to realise that I had been limiting myself. It hadn't been on purpose, it had just happened over the years, that I had slowly been stripping away my own abilities. Yes, you read that right, that I had been doing it to myself. It wasn't anyone else who had created these limitations for me. It wasn't anyone else's preconceived notions of my abilities. No, it had been my own assumptions at my abilities. But London up-ended that, showed me that I'm capable of far more than I gave myself credit for.

Preparing for my trip to London was a bit like anyone else would prepare, except, I added in the need to begin walking. I knew that once I got there, I would be walking a lot, and if I didn't prepare my body, it would punish me for the lack of preparation. Well, nothing could have prepared me, and if I'm honest, I really didn't try that hard. Putting in a half mile at home a couple of times a week was little preparation for the 4-5 miles I would walk a day in London.

But if you had told me before I left that I would be capable of walking 4-5 miles a day, not only would I have looked at you like you were crazy, I would have acknowledged that you just didn't know me very well. So, it took me being in my dream city, walking the streets amongst all of the sites I had fantasised about seeing to shake off all the limitations I had previously held for me to realise that 4-5 miles while exhausting, and mixed with lots of rest, is completely within my capability.

A few years ago, spurred on by a cold, a lot of visits to the Doctor and a trip to the ER which resulted in a diagnosis of asthma, I allowed myself to say, 'well I just can't do a lot of the things I could do before.' Because stopping for a break was embarrassing, and having shortness of breath is scary. So I would only go to stores that had mobility scooters so that I didn't have to exert myself. But doing this put me in the mindset of "I'm limited, and there are things I can't do."

Suddenly walking upstairs felt like a chore, and while it was hard, I would make many, many excuses for why I couldn't do it. Going anywhere that involved walking just didn't happen, and so suddenly my life was limited to places that were easy or quick to walk to. The whole time this was happening, I was failing to see that I had limited myself, I had effectively shackled my own feet to keep myself from moving. Now I want to be clear, there are legitimate times that shortness of breath should be a cause to go slower, but it shouldn't stop you from going. That's what I did. I just stopped going.

London shook that up. It made me realise that my body was more than capable of walking a grocery store, of walking any store, of walking around the block, hell, even walking the zoo. Because if I can do 4 miles in ONE day, then I can spend the day looking at animals. My only limitation had been myself.

The last few weeks has seen a lot of changes, a lot of shifting of the mental wires in my brain. No longer do I sit on a mobility scooter in the grocery store or any store for that matter. No longer do I ask for help with the laundry, or any chore, I do them all. I fix all my meals and get all my drinks. I walk anywhere and everywhere, and I don't always look for the closest parking spot to the door. For the last few weeks, I've actually been planning a trip to go geode hunting, which involves some light hiking, me hiking. It was something I would never have thought I would say, 'I'm looking forward to,' but I am. I also never thought I would say that 'I don't drink soda,' but I don't.

Since 2017 began, I've completely overhauled who I am, because I was fed up with making excuses and always stopping and starting. It's a slow process; it's taken years of therapy to get to this point. But, I'm no longer my own limitation. I'm embracing the body I have. I listen to it and take breaks when I need them, but I do push myself to truly live life, and not let my size stop me.

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