I had a Physical Therapy appointment – which is really nothing new because I have had a few therapy appointments almost every week since coming home with this broken femur (#brokenfemurssuck) – but what was new were the exercises we did during this session.
I have had trouble lifting my leg off the bed and engaging my quad muscle. It’s odd because I still can’t feel my muscles. I have to tap my fingers on my thigh to feel where the muscles are so I can trick them into working. It is so weird not to be able to feel what is working inside your body. I found I couldn’t feel my hamstrings either. But, I can bend my leg so I know they are there.
Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go.Jackson Kiddard
So the therapist told me to relax while she lifted my leg and allowed it to hang in the air and stretch the muscle. This position would allow gravity to straighten my leg to where it should be because I went from hyper-extending my leg to keeping it bent all the time – which is not a good thing.
“You can relax your leg, Carmen,” the therapist told me.
“No,” she said, “Just let me hold your leg. You can release your muscles.”
“Let go, Carmen. I’ve got you.”
I couldn’t seem to relax. I couldn’t seem to let go. The more I “tried” to relax, the more my body tensed up. I started shaking.
It takes more energy to control than to let go.Anonymous
I had flashbacks of Christmas.
You see Christmas is “my” holiday in our family. I’ve hosted Christmas dinner for years. A sit down dinner for 25 – 30 family members as the years came and the families grew. When necessary dinner would be buffet-style. I can be flexible that way.
I love hosting Christmas… the traditions, the family gatherings.
The day starts at my mom’s house when we would all spend the night to wake up to see that Santa had come. I would make some breakfast casseroles and we have coffee and breakfast and watch the kids open gifts.
Then I’d start on the ham and potatoes and sweet potatoes and whatever else was on the menu that year. All the others would take off home to see if Santa got there and then return for dinner later that evening. Or come by early to see what they could do to help and bring their dish to share.
There were years when we would gather at my cousin’s house because hers was the largest of our homes. But it was always the same. Breakfast first. Gifts. And, I start cooking. Then we took everything to her house.
Any change, even for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.Arnold Bennett
Then there was this holiday season. This year that brought me such a sucker punch. This year that had me already missing a chance to be on stage, missing Thanksgiving with my family at home, and missing my freedom, and my pride… this year’s Christmas was being changed without my even being involved. I had suddenly realized how I had lost complete control over almost every aspect of my being – even “my holiday.”
I was suddenly being informed of how “my holiday’ was going to be held.
Some of us think that holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.Herman Hess
I don’t think I was ever as angry as when my sisters were telling me how things were going to be this Christmas. Without a conversation with me. Without a discussion of what I felt I could or could not do. Without consideration of how I would feel having changes made to “my holiday.” I kept asking them not to take this away from me. Please. I had to hold on to something. I felt bulldozed.
I was so angry I couldn’t articulate my frustration. They couldn’t explain their reasoning in any form that I would listen to.
I couldn’t let go.
When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Sometimes you need to relax, breathe, let go and live in the moment.Anonymous
For most of my adult life, I have prided myself of being able to let go and let be. Live in the moment. Be grateful. Take a deep breath and release.
I’m the laid back one. Things always work out. I’m really good at letting go.
Until I wasn’t.
Real strength isn’t control. It’s knowing when to let go.Christopher Barzak
I had no choice but to give in to what my sister’s wanted because I had no recourse being in my wheelchair. I understand that times are changing again, but that on top of my leg … well, it made me feel useless. I had lost control of my life. I felt dismissed. And I hated that feeling.
But as the day progressed I began to understand. And, I began to let go.
I at least was able to make the ham.
And, really I should have been more grateful to my sisters because they went shopping for me and brought in the food and brought up the dishes and got the table ready and I couldn’t have done it all without them.
Really I owe them a debt of gratitude that I was too stubborn to give at the time.
It was a tough lesson though. Letting go of what we can’t control. What I can’t control. Trusting my sisters to have the best intentions in mind Relaxing and enjoying the moment. I was trying to hold on way too much. Instead of allowing and flowing and being grateful for the help and love.
Once I let go I could relax and enjoy my family. The evening. The food. The festivities.
And, once I let go I could stretch my leg. And, I didn’t shake anymore. And, it didn’t hurt as much.
Learning to let go gracefully is a challenge at the moment. Obviously. And learning to let go to allow healing, change, growth, movement, sisters, love, family is getting easier – but certainly not all there yet. Especially now that I can understand that it is for my benefit and not something that is being taken away from me.
You can’t control everything. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that everything will work out. Let go a little and let life happen.Anonymous
This was a not-so-subtle reminder of my having to return to having faith and to live in the moment and in gratitude. Faith that things will all work out alright. Be in the moment to allow goodness and strength to flow freely to me. Let go. Let life. Let it flow. And be grateful that there are sisters and therapists ready to hold me up when I need them.
I can relax now. I can let life happen. And, everything will indeed work out.
Carmen is a single mom who acts, sings, drinks coffee and writes stuff as she authentically navigates life. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes not so much. You can decide. But if something moves you, drop a line, share it far and wide, and let it be known!