Even as a writer and motivational blogger I occasionally struggle with how to adequately communicate my feelings. To share your thoughts and emotions with another human being can be one of the most challenging yet most rewarding, beneficial and healthy things to do.
At the end of the day even if you are actively listening to someone else’s fears, doubts, hopes and dreams you still really have only a fraction of an idea of what they are thinking or feeling.
A while ago I sat in my doctor’s office and I received the results of a CT scan done on my fused ankle. This was ordered as I was experiencing an increase in pain and my physiotherapist was curious about possible widening of an area of the ankle adjacent to the fusion.
The results were not what I was expecting. The past reared its ugly head and arthritis lit up in a few different areas of my foot. In a normal appendage this can be attributed to a regular degenerative change however in a compromised joint it is often a different story.
In other words I am back at the beginning. I am back to square one with pain management, with a plan of attack and with the journey of a thousand questions and frustratingly not as many answers.
I am okay with that.
Why? The answer to that question is simple. I am NOT going to let this stop me from obtaining the goals I set for myself, from achieving my dreams or living my life to the fullest.
I digress. My original point to this blog was to share how the journey within is sometimes the most difficult thing to share with those around you. In order to paint an accurate picture I had to let you in on what I had experienced as that plants a seed for what happened next.
For the next part of this I take you to the Parkinson Creek Trailhead to Little Kuitshe Creek section of the Juan de Fuca Trail. My boyfriend Chuck and I started out our overnight adventure in high spirits however inside I could feel myself battling my inner demons.
As I passed other hikers I found myself sad that I didn’t seemingly float through these trails as easily as they all seemed to. I know now that it was simply my perception and that those people were having their own struggles however in that moment it didn’t feel like that to me. I felt like I was slow and tedious and as if I was doing nothing but holding Chuck back.
Surely he would be enjoying himself more if was doing this with someone faster and more able to navigate independently instead of always having to lend a hand? If I couldn’t stand to hike with myself how could he?
I didn’t realize it but in that moment by not trying to vocalize how I was feeling my mannerisms and body language was sending him the wrong message completely.
He thought I didn’t want to be there, that I wasn’t enjoying myself or our adventure. Nothing could have been further from the truth as there was no place else I wanted to be in that moment despite my doubts about my abilities.
When I became aware of this I immediately attempted to find the words to tell him. This is where communication can be challenging because in that moment one is best served by being authentic yet that can be a very scary and painful thing to do.
I found my eyes tearing and I could feel my face flushing as I bared that open wound and shared with him that while I knew my frustrations were my own thing to work through, I felt as if my limitations…were limiting him.
His response was quick and clear. He told me that my need to adapt, to slow down, to be more careful or to ask for help did not bother him and that he could not imagine experiencing this with anyone else. There was no place else he wanted to be either.
What a profound realization – the only hindrance present in that moment or at any point during that day was the one that I was creating for myself.
I’m very happy to say that we finished our trek to Little Kuitshe and then made the hike back to Parkinson Creek Trail parking lot the next day. I arrived tired, sore (a good sore!) and more importantly proud. I also arrived with a greater sense of understanding how powerful open and authentic communication can be.
I can’t wait until the next adventure no matter if it’s hiking, biking, boxing or something else I haven’t even considered yet.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing I wish for you all the ability to see the beauty in your journey regardless of how long it takes, the knowledge that you are not a burden or obstacle to anyone else (EVER!) and the chance to communicate what’s in your heart and soul to those closest to you.
Most of all remember…
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” ~ Brene Brown