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(4 suckas | bust a move)

On running [13 Jun 2010|07:24pm]
A year ago today I broke my leg when I jumped down 3-4 stairs at a movie theater. I shattered my tibial plateau and spent 10 days in the hospital, getting over 13 screws, a bone graft, and two scars put on or into my body. Breaking my leg did, in some ways, fundamentally change my life. There is the time I had before it and the life I had after it, even though outwardly it all looks the same.

For the most part, breaking my leg was a positive force. It gave me a wonderful summer at home with friends and the family, the ability to quit a job I hated (and subsequently find a job I liked). It altered my self perception and allowed me to clarify my values.

But it is still, ultimately, an injury and has the frustrations attached. I did 6 months of physical therapy, therapy that was good and helpful, but ultimately unsatisfying on a few levels. My left leg is still smaller in size than my right leg and without investing in a personal trainer (and the time that requires) it might always be. It hurts when it rains or the pressure changes and it hurts sometimes when I use it to much. It pops. It requires ice. It has brought up a lot of body image issues because of my two new scars (bringing my total count of scars on me longer than an inch to four). As much good as it brought into my life, it has brought bad as well.

The biggest one is one that I would not have predicted: my sadness over not being able to run. I was never, ever a runner. My CHD gives me decreased lung capacity and while I enjoy and crave exercise, I will never be Good at it. I'm too slow. I require too many breaks.

But now, I cannot run. It's too high impact on my knee right now and my gait is changed because of the injury--when I try to run (and I have) I run awkwardly and in way that only hurts myself further. I am simply unable to do it and, again, without the investment in forms of training and therapy, I may never.

This loss, despite my dislike of running, feels huge. It hits me all the time. When I bike in the park or go to the gym I look wistfully at the people running. I wish I could join them. I wish I could try. I would love to run even one mile again, like I detested doing in elementary school. It would now take me longer than the 12 minutes it took me then, but I would relish every single one.

(5 suckas | bust a move)

On Movement [28 Oct 2009|11:03pm]
I never used to notice my steps this much. They weren't conscious actions, they just were. Now evert step is a thought. Every step is me repeating "Don't limp, don't limp, don't limp" to myself. Or, specific advice "Grab the quad, lift your knees, don't limp, don't limp."

Most days it's fine, but when I get tired it gets worse, but leg sometimes physically dragging behind me, my mantras tripping from my tongue to the sidewalk.

It's nothing like learning to walk as a child, when you were free and easy and just did it. It's work and effort and remembering. Remembering to engage your muscles and place the heel where it's supposed to be, because god knows your body doesn't remember. You have to help it.

It's so, so much easier than the crutches, but it's exhausting and all the same. And now when it hurts I can't finangle my way into an easy seat or a shorter line. I have to stand there, pain and all, and look, for all the world, like a carefree stepper.

(PS: I noted to my roommate earlier this week that I saw my physical therapists more than them. Everyone had a good laugh.)

(bust a move)

On Food 2 [28 Sep 2009|11:59pm]
Made my second recipe, Sad Lady Casserole. Check it out at the blog: http://recipefight.blogspot.com/

(bust a move)

On Food [23 Sep 2009|08:13am]
So this post? I did it. The first entry is here. I made Ohsnap's hummus, sorta. It was a pretty fun experiment and I have already done the second challenge.

I like where this is headed. Hopefully you do to. Submit some ideas for me to make. Tell your friends, etc.

(12 suckas | bust a move)

On Invisibility [17 Sep 2009|02:32pm]
I have seen a few posts here and there about people discussing their invisible disabilities, so here is my go, so to speak.

This summer I have been very visibly disabled. And, man, has it been a learning curve. Dealing with the stares and pity and questions is one thing (and it's something I have dealt with before), but navigating the world became something else all together. It's so hard to navigate the world on crutches in the city where I live that I actually left for a month.

It's not just the uneven streets that make walking with crutches hard. Or the walk-ups. It's the doors. Doors are unnecessarily, cruelly, access-lacking. Few have those convenient buttons. Most are hard to open single-handedly and many are so heavy as to make the task near impossible.

I had many, many people offer to help me when I would be going down the stairs. A kind gesture, but sort of a useless one, as really all they could do was watch me or maybe hold my crutch. Stairs are primarily a individual activity, though I appreciate the offers.

Less people, however, offered to open doors for me. They would watch me struggle and walk away or watch me struggle for a few minutes before coming over to help. Such disconnects between help really needed v. help offered abounded this summer. People (oddly, mostly the elderly) would readily offer subway seats, yet few would give up their waiting-for-the-subway-seat. It was strange.

This summer I was visibly disabled and it was a lesson. And even in celebrating my recovery I have tried to figure out how I can say "Yay I can walk again!" without saying "People who can't walk suck!" Friends congratulating me for being a real person again make me uncomfortable. I was as real on crutches as I am now with a limp.

All that said, I have wrestled with the idea of a disabled identity before, most notably in college, when my school sent me a letter about the services they offered to disabled students--a letter I got because of my heart.

I have a long, complex history with my heart condition. I proudly own it and wear it, but I would never say it makes me disabled, largely because it hardly affects my life, physically, It has had a huge impact on how I see myself, death, and the world, but little impact on what I can do in that world. I might be a little slower or breath a little harder, but overall I am amazingly, shockingly, healthy.

And this is because I was extremely lucky. If I had been born just a few scant years before, there is no doubt that I would have had multiple open heart surgeries, much more difficulty, and probably be on medication. Had my younger brother been born when I was he would have died--his surgery was still new when he was born.

This luck was become a joke between him and I, as we become more adult-like and yet still see our pediatric cardiologist. And we will always see a pediatric cardiologist for the simple (and sad) fact that most adult cardiologist aren't used to seeing and treating adults with congenital defects. Until recently there weren't enough of us living long to learn how to manage our care.

But does all that make me disabled? In rejecting the title am I buying into an implication that all disabled people are weak and sickly? In claiming the title am I taking time and attention away from people who might need it? Am I throwing myself onto a group identity I can't really understand or claim?

How different does that thin line on my chest make me?

Right now, I don't know. But I hope that it never truly becomes invisible.

(9 suckas | bust a move)

On Walking [16 Sep 2009|05:57pm]
So, despite what I said the other day, all the worries about work an effort, my doctor's appointment Monday basically went like this: x-rays, once-over by a resident, walking.

I was sort of shocked when the surgeon asked me to walked and even had him clarify ("with crutches?" "no") because I couldn't believe it at first. And then, with the resident next to me for support, I took my first steps in three months.

They hurt. A lot. Oh man, did it hurt. My calf is impossibly tight, my hamstring and quad non-existent and my bones so unused to walking that each step pounds on me knee. It wasn't excruciating, but lord, it wasn't pleasant.

And yet. The grin wouldn't leave my face. Texting a friend about it while I walked (!!) to my bus stop, I started to tear up. I know my immobility was temporary (just like I am now pretty dang aware of how temporary this whole able-bodied thing is to begin with) but, guys, it felt so long. And even though it hurt and continues to hurt, each painful step is still mind-blowingly awesome.

My walk isn't so much a walk yet as a stumbling limp, a sort of sideways swagger that would make me feel more badass if I wasn't single crutching it like Tiny Tim. I was supposed to have a cane, and may buy one if I can find it cheap enough, but my therapist seems confident it's not worth the effort at the moment when I hopefully won't need it for long.

So here I am. Ambulatory once more. No longer struggling with doors or carrying things. There's still a lot of work to be done, but it feels pretty good to have this hurdle crossed.

(7 suckas | bust a move)

On My Leg [11 Sep 2009|11:49am]
I see the surgeon again on Monday and, given my progress, it's likely that I'll be cleared for walking. It's been so long I don't even really remember what walking was like and I'm just trying not to pin too much on it. There's still the part where I have to learn to walk again, the part where I have to remember I can get out of bed in the morning and not reach for my crutches.

This summer has hit me in a lot of ways, mostly financially. Without being able to work two jobs I've gotten myself into debt and I'm freaked out and stressed by the whole thing, trying to find jobs I can do (no lifting yet, no standing, no service work). I just want to revert back to June, but I'm trying to take this as a chance to do something different.

The other day a lady yelled at my on the subway for not walking fast enough down the stairs. She told me to move and then, at the bottom, after we'd both missed our train, said GODDAM YOU! There was room to move around me, so at the time I was just gob-smacked and angry. Only later did I become upset. I'm tired of the struggle, the weighing of how much energy a task will task versus how much I need to do it. I'm tired of flights of stairs and not being able to dance. Of lagging behind my friends.

I have to remember that it's not going to get better instantly. I work hard at physical therapy and I'm doing really well, but there's still at least another week on crutches and then months of walking, slowly, towards trying to put everything back to where it used to be.

(16 suckas | bust a move)

On Trying [09 Sep 2009|07:17pm]
So I have an idea.

I miss taking photos of food. And, if a lot of side conversations to me/my Flickr views are any indication, you all miss it as well.

I also miss cooking more new recipes. Like anyone, especially someone with an injury that has limited their movement, I stick to a few standard recipes. I'd like to branch out of that, especially with fall and the walking both on the horizon.

My idea is this: you tell me a recipe to make and I make it and photo it. There would be a few caveats (below), but that there is the whole concept. I'm thinking of a name like Recipe Challenge.

Thoughts? Feelings? Initial recipe suggestions?

1) It can be either a recipe or a half-formed thought (what would shallots and limes go good with?), but if it's the former I need to given a copy/link to it.

2) I'm a vegetarian, so the recipe should either be meat-free or you won't be sad when I make it meat-free.

3) The less ingredients I have to go to the store to buy, the more likely I am to make it. I'm poor. The same will go for time involved in preparation.

4) Go nuts! It can be anything, from a soup to a appetizer, to a main dish, to a dessert.

(2 suckas | bust a move)

On Whoring [08 Sep 2009|09:03pm]
Hey guys, PLEASE vote for my friends. Not only do I miss them a great deal (and wish I had been there to help with this), they managed to actually be creative, whereas too many other people just decided to show off their acting skillz.

GO HERE to vote, but you can watch below. And then VOTE.

(2 suckas | bust a move)

On Happiness [27 Aug 2009|05:22pm]
Yesterday a friend called this journal long-forgotten and while I instantly wanted to say "nu-uh!" the lag between entry dates says differently.

Maybe it's that I am trying to be less narcissistic, at least so publicly. There are certain things I am trying to do to work on flaws within myself and that is one of them.

Maybe it's that I have been busy. We moved house recently, going from Bushwick to Harlem, which is a bit of a trek. I was fortunate to have parents and movers and friends help with the packing and unpacking and I now live in a wonderfully large apartment with windows and sunshine and two great roommates and friends within walking distance. I couldn't be happier, even though I know Brooklyn is the hip, fun place to be. Not only do I like where I live, actually think I could stay here longer than a year, something that hasn't happened since I left my parents.

Maybe it's that my broken leg has made me lazy. I sleep in late hours, stay up, watch more TV, and generally don't do as much. I don't like it and I know the leg is simply an excuse. I'm trying.

Maybe it's just that I have been writing less. I have had a surprisingly social summer, considering. Going home helped a great deal, but close friends moving into the city and having lived here nearly a year also help a great deal.

Maybe it's just that I have been relatively happy. Sure, there are moments of sadness and stress and frustration, but recently I have found myself being more happy--or at least more comfortable and pleasant--than I have been in a while.

There are things I still want to change. There are people I still wish were a part of my life. And there are things I wish I could do (namely, walk). But right now, with a slight breeze coming in our windows, children outside, and a roommate telling me about the cute boys at his picnic, I can't think of a better summer to have had, crutches and all.

(10 suckas | bust a move)

On Optimism [05 Aug 2009|08:33pm]
A glass of red wine on the table, a smile on my face, I yelled at K across the room, scooping some ice cream out.

"Yea, so you'll like this, bro--I broke my leg a year to the day that J dumped me. June 13th has something against me, I guess."
"No dude," he said, getting up to help me carry the bowls. "That signals the total end to your shitty year. You're done. Things can only get better from here."

This morning I found a note from him that ended with "I love you the best" followed by "PS: Don't tell my girlfriend". Once again, nearly everyone I've known for longer than a year is several hundred miles away and new friends might slip away. I'm falling into disarray and I still don't have a new physical therapist, even though I can out weight on my leg again. My room is just boxes and it's so hot I barely wear clothes.

And yet. I can't shake this feeling of love. I can't stop smiling. And yea, my leg is still jacked. And yea, I'm more broke than I have ever been. And yea, sometimes I just wanna scream. Sometimes I want to throw in and go right back home, to where the porches and cheap beer and the stars are.

But my bad year is over. And now it's time to move on up.

(bust a move)

On Convalescence [17 Jul 2009|01:51pm]

Yea, this is my day.

(1 sucka | bust a move)

On The Aftermath [08 Jul 2009|05:55pm]

This injury has been like a return to growing up. I'm now in the middle of puberty, with all the accompanying frustration and restrictions. Like a whiny teenager, I want the world to take me seriously and let me have my independence, but I'm not at all ready for it. There are literal baby steps and I'm trying to deal with this blow to my self-image as best as I can.

I can see the form that my scars will take now. They are crusty at the moment, with dried blood and dried skin and dried ointment, but I see the tiny lines they will eventually be. A simple reminder of metal and cartilage and of bone that is no longer all my own.

The first surgical strip fell off today and pink tissue burst forth. I touched it and, like the part of my leg that is still numb, it doesn't feel entirely my own. Like a lot of things these days, it's a challenge, and it's sitting there asking me "so what the hell are you going to do now?"

(9 suckas | bust a move)

On Fairness [24 Jun 2009|09:36pm]
Secret confession guys? The last two weeks have been pretty damn hard.

I am not someone who often elicits help from others. It is not my favorite thing to do and so, I avoid it. Smugly I probably think this makes me a Good Person somehow, someone who doesn't burden others.

And now, from that, I am have become someone who can barely get off the bed without assistance. Oh sure, the hospital taught me how to use my crutches and oh sure, part of it is because I lack a bed frame at the moment so my mattress is low to the ground and difficult to get off of. But a big part of it is that I am terrified.

I am terrified of falling. Of hurting myself. I am terrified of how absolutely difficult these next three months are going to have to be.

Tri-weekly physical therapy. No subway. Having to give myself shots. Every single activity I am used to doing taking about five times longer and/or becoming impossible.

All because I decided, in a moment of whimsy, to jump down a few steps. I didn't skateboard down Devils Hill. I didn't decide that I could totally break a pile of 2 by 4's with my leg. I just skipped some steps.

And because of that I don't know how to do anything I used to know how to do. Because of that I am going to spend a lot of my summer inside. Because of that I have screwed up a lot of things, including, potentially my parents and my own financial well-being.

I know whining about it doesn't make it any better. And I know many people--so many people--have learned to manage a lot worse. I know that I have the benefit of supportive parents and friends and that eventually, I will be just fine.

But right now? Right now it's so damn hard. I just want to give up and throw myself into a coma until I am able to walk again. Fuck this noise, seriously.

(15 suckas | bust a move)

On Fate [24 Jun 2009|10:17am]
I broke my leg--an incredibly bad break that will require 3 months of immobility and god knows how many of physical therapy--a year to the day that I was dumped.

June 13th, what did I ever do to you?

(28 suckas | bust a move)

On Surgery and Scars [15 Jun 2009|07:55pm]
It took me a lot of years to get used to the line that runs down my chest. I would joke about it, I would have it out, but I was never comfortable with it. Never proud. I saw all the ways it made me ugly and strove to shake them off.

Now, I appreciate it for exactly what it is and for the beauty it gives to me, but loving it is a new experience and it's one I'm still getting used to.

An hour ago a surgeon came in here and used words one doesn't want to hear--"smashed bones", "cadaver", "torn cartilage". But what struck me most was when he gestured on both sides of my kneecap. Two new lines to get used to.

My worst fear used to be being alone in a hospital room. It turns out that the utter loneliness I associate with that idea doesn't really occur. That, rather, most people come through in surprising ways. That when the chips are down, people have a way of showing you how much they care.

Having faced my former worst fear, I can't help bu thinking about those new lines on my body. I can't help but feel like the young girl I once was, so sure scars marked her as terrible. I can't help but think about how much I will associate with those two lines--limited mobility, pain and foolishness. How much they will come to mark this last year.

But mostly I am thinking about how, in their own way, they are a sign of loneliness. And I can't help but wonder just how many years it will take me to love this new set.

(8 suckas | bust a move)

On Jobs [03 Jun 2009|09:54am]
When part of the fact that your boss is failing to, well, accomplish much of anything is attributed to his not taking The Secret seriously enough, you know you really, really need another job.

(bust a move)

On Trying [26 May 2009|08:31am]
On Memorial Day Three years ago we shared our first kiss.

I'm trying not to say so much about that, these days, and I'm doing better about not over-thinking it too much, either. But out of all the things that make me sad about the past year, one of the things that hits me hardest is this: a year later, and I still feel like I'm searching for him in everyone. I don't know if I'll ever stop and I don't think I'll ever find him and, well, that's an incalculable loss.

But, after this length of time, it's starting to feel a lot less like he was my partner and my confidant and a lot more like he was someone I heard about from friends. Someone, who, given better circumstances, I might have known.

And so I spent a tiny bit of Memorial Day lamenting a friend I never had.

(bust a move)

On Georgia [13 May 2009|06:40pm]

The South was adorable and green.

(bust a move)

On Spring [29 Apr 2009|07:16pm]

Lately I have been trying to push through some hard personal changes. I've been told to share more with people and live more in the moment and I'm working on it. I'll probably never be great at it, but it's about time I did this.

I'm not making drastic changes, nor am I doing it because of a horrible life crisis. Rather, I now have the financial security to be a bit more indulgent and I have enough friends here that I have some people to rely on and who watch out for me. It's nice.

This past weekend I went to Boston for a radio festival. It was decent and I had a fun time, but it made me examine myself. Being surrounded by creative, fascinating people always makes me question where that passion lies within me. I have always tried to make friend with people I admire and wish I was more like and I think maybe the time is right to turn that wish into a reality.

In short: all is well. I got a visit from my little brother. I have friends. I have two jobs. I'm sort of in a band. I have a book to write. I have a trip this weekend that I could not be more stoked about. I got a haircut, finally.

I need to carve out some more free-time, but right now? I get to make dinner, listen to cheesy pop music, and drink on my deck with my roommate. I don't need more than that.

PS: If you miss my jokes or daily minutiae, check out my twitter. Same great name, same great taste.

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