#SOL14 - Write Through the Pain

I often tell young writers (and old, I suppose) to write what's difficult -- those hard stories are worth writing because it helps us process the truth in those moments. They aren't easy to write because we don't like to think of them. We don't want to face the ugliness in something we said or did, or something terrible that happened to us. We don't want to face our weaknesses, our regrets, our secrets. But writing down those words can be just the salve we've been searching for.

Easier said than done, I know.

(If you're tired of hearing me whine incessantly about Pilates, this would be a good time to stop reading. Just take the above tidbit of writing knowledge and move on, friends, because honestly, I'm writing the rest just for me.)

I was half way through my Pilates routine tonight. Alone in the house, just my cheerful Blogilates video, me, and a yoga mat lying on the wooden living room floor. The movements shouldn't have been difficult. Standing shoulder and back work. No weights. Just my own muscles against gravity and motion. Less than a year ago, I would have torn through this workout without difficulty. Six years ago, I could have done it with superb flexibility and ease.

Tonight I took several quick breaks, rolling my shoulders back and stretching my neck by letting my head roll slowly back and forth. After each break I picked right back up where I left off, determined to make it through each motion. Finally, the series ended and it was time for lying glute work.

I sank to my knees, feeling the floor push back up against me. This shouldn't hurt, I thought, my knees should not feet like they are being smacked with a hammer. I was angry. Tired of the aches and pains that seem to be the rule that governs my every move. I laid down on my back, pressed my arms and palms of my hands flat to the floor, bent my knees and pressed my feet into the mat. Cassie Ho, the video's motivating instructor, began a series of pelvic lifts, raising her butt into the air as if it were the easiest thing in the world. I followed along, enjoying the music and focused on keeping my ab muscles engaged. When I workout, I pay close attention to my muscles, wanting to fully engage through each movement. Each push and pull, tension and release letting me know that yes, I am getting stronger.

With the video coming to an end, I struggled to keep up. My shoulders ached against the hard floor, my hips burned each time I lifted myself up. I did not give up. But instead of feeling stronger, I felt weary when it ended. My muscles were tense, so I decided to do some deep stretches to work some of the kinks out. Still on my back, I lengthened one leg and crossed the other one across my body until my knee hit the floor. I stretched my arms out to either side, breathing through the stretch.

Everything hurt. Tears welled up. Angry tears, filled with disappointment and hurt. I lay there, staring up at the ceiling, letting the tears stream down my face. I thought about how in 14 years, this house we just bought will be paid for. Thought about the talks The Husband I have had about traveling and hiking and adventuring together as we get older. Thought about the way my body felt in each spot it made contact with the floor, buzzing with a pain and weakness I am still not accustomed to. I switched positions, letting my other leg stretch, feeling the tightness in my hips loosen slightly. But not enough.

I rolled up to sitting, pulled my feet together in front of me and leaned forward, placing my elbows and forearms onto the floor, my palms down, fingers splayed out flat. I leaned in and my back bellowed loudly. A new wave of tears rushed forward.

Working out has never been painful for me. Difficult, sure. Sweaty, always. Invigorating, definitely. But never painful. It hurts my pride even more than my joints and muscles. It hurts my ego. It hurts my belief in how strong I am. It hurts, but I continue. And I write it all down because even though it hurts and it makes me rage on the inside, I believe it will get better. I believe that each time I push through the anger and the pain, I win just a little. Even if I cry. Because crying isn't a sign of weakness. And pain isn't a sign of defeat. And anger doesn't mean I don't appreciate each day I am blessed with. I'm still thankful for what I can do, because I know there are many out there who struggle more. I'm still hopeful for the future, because I know it exists. I'm still determined not to give up, because giving up isn't in my nature. And I'm still writing, even though it is embarrassing. Because that's how we heal.

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