On Being Timid

I recently returned from my western adventure, the trip that was to help me regain my Val-ness after January’s crash. And it did in so many ways. It was needed and I gained a lot of ground. I consider it a successful trip but the challenges were significant as I mentioned in my wrap up of the adventure.

If I had to label the trip, I would say the over-riding feeling was that of being timid.

I was timid about climbing on the car to load the roof box like I usually do. Worried about slipping and re-injuring myself.

I was timid about my abilities. Timid about heading into the wilderness solo. Uncertain what I was capable of and all-too-aware of the implications of getting in over my head. I’ve talked about personal safety on the trail before. And I still take those precautions. But it feels more intense and sketchy now.

I was timid about how much I could ask of “Frankenleg” each day. The shaft fracture and rod are only a part of the story. The saphenous-femoral bypass weighs on me every day. It makes me nervous. When the leg starts throbbing and aching, alarm bells go off in my head and I pull back instinctively, like jerking your hand back from the lick of a flame.

I was timid about taking the boys on wilderness hikes as the sole adult with the medical skills and experience to address complications… and me being the most likely one to be in need.

It’s not a good feeling, holding back, constantly questioning. Certainly difficult for a person who’s not accustomed to operating from that mental place. Someone who is used to being able to do so much more.

There’s security pushing my limits at the physical therapist’s office or at home. It’s a different story in a wilderness setting or while traveling. The implications are much greater if things go badly.

The hesitation, the uncertainty, the timidity… it’s all because there is fear in the way. I think you’ll agree, that’s not unexpected. But the struggle makes me frustrated and angry. The reality is that my only choice is to use the anger and determination to help me dig deeper. And each success chips away at the uncertainty. The failures? Well, those just suck. I cry. Try to move forward again.

My confidence needs as much therapy as my leg. Maybe more. And I have to keep pushing to break it all down just like my therapist does as she digs her fingers painfully into my legs to alleviate my scar tissue. I’m trying to accept the process. But it’s long. And slow. And it takes tremendous mental and physical energy. And sometimes I get really tired.

And disgusted that this is all because of an inattentive driver.

But I have to plow past disgust, anger, frustration, uncertainty, and timidity. There will be no accomplishment in languishing there.

So I leave you with this…

val in real life - great sand dunes
I sat in the shadow of my beloved dunes, wanting to be content with simply being present in the beauty… but agonizing over what seemed out of reach, what I used to be able to do. I finally had to get angry enough to find the fierceness I needed to push fear aside and turn it into determination. And that was good. Necessary. And a terribly challenging place to get to.

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