In this picture,
I was finishing my first hike since my injury.
A little back story for ya… Growing up I spent every Summer and a few weekends throughout the year, at camp. Jameson Camp for liiiife! At this camp, I was introduced to all things camping and nature. So hiking and being in the outdoors is extremely important to me and a bit nostalgic. Therefore, getting back outdoors and exploring is something I have a strong desire to do. I have always loved hiking and camping. But the thought of trying but then realizing I couldn’t do it, kept me from attempting at all. Had I stayed in that cycle, what a tragedy that would have been.
Prior to this picture, I had bought trekking poles on a whim, with the intentions of hiking. That was 2.5 years ago 😅. I had amped myself up to go, but that quickly came to a halt. And the thought process went like this...
" Well, I probably shouldn’t go hiking for the first time by myself. But I don't want to go with people because what if they walk too fast and I can't keep up. Actually, there is no 'what if'. You will not be able to keep up. That's just a fact, at this time. And I don't want to go hiking with people and then I am slowing everybody down. Then I am going to feel like a burden. Well Shennea, if the roles were reversed would you feel like someone was a burden just because they couldn't walk as fast as you? No. I wouldn't buuuut I ain't errybody."
Then I started to think of who I would feel comfortable attempting this with...that would ACTUALLY do it. But Slowly the winter came, and the thought drifted to the back of my mind but kept a constant nagging presence.
2018 came. I am "healed" after a broken ankle/leg, and appreciating my ambulation more than ever. (You would think having been paralyzed would have made me more appreciative but...Nah lol jk) Then I am told I have to have another surgery on my spinal cord yadda yadda yadda. I've told yall this before. But if you're new here (insert link to that blog) So Now I'm like okay. Bet! I've got stuff to do before that surgery. Which is why I did a lot of "Firsts, Since" in 2018.
Fast forward to August. I've had an adventure filled Summer, and my last trip is coming to an end. I am in Harbor Springs, MI enjoying some R and R before I return home, to work on getting the business up and running. I had brought the aforementioned trekking poles with the intent to go hiking. However, I avoided bringing it up because I knew the friend I was with would have been down to go and ya girl was scurred. (But shout out to ride or die friends)
As mentioned before, the trip was coming to an end. We had been out all morning and now we were both in our respective rooms; the intention was to take a nap. However, I preceded to dwell on how I felt like I had ruined the day because I was a bit stuck in my head and my energy was blah. It was just one of those days when I felt like my life was not my own and that I was dreaming. I felt like I was moving slow and couldn’t keep up. And then I felt bad because my friend thought she had done something so she was concerned. So I felt bad that I made her feel like that. But had I discussed these feelings at the beginning of the day it probably wouldn’t have manifested into such an ordeal. And Ordeal may be too strong of a word because it really wasn’t but it felt like it was because…anxiety 😉
So now that I am in this obviously healthy thought process…. 🙄 I begin to harp on the fact that I only had a few more days left in this majestic place and I hadn’t gone hiking. After about 30 minutes of attempting to shift my energy into something useful (props to tips from my therapist) I began hyping myself up…I put a leash on Renn and decided that I was just going to take a walk with the poles. Nothing fancy. Just walk up and down the gravel driveway to see how it feels. I step off of the porch and onto the gravel and I felt Surprisingly stable and capable. ( By the way, as I am typing this I am not sure why I was so surprised because I stopped walking with 2 forearm crutches years ago and that’s basically what the poles are. But I digress, it was a mental thing) Anyways as to not minimize the situation, I am feeling pretty proud and confident with my little stroll. And in true Shennea fashion, that short walk wasn’t good enough and I needed to take it to the next level.
Across the driveway from the house they have a little prairie like situation. Prairie is def the wrong word but it’s a clearing that’s similar to what is in the above picture. Maybe a Meadow?
Anyway, there is no trail so it is pretty wild and thriving . So I am now standing at the edge of the gravel driveway with the grass at the tip of my toes. The world is moving in slow motion and it's just me and the “prairie but not prairie like clearing”. I lift my foot (in slow motion of course) and take my first step. It lands, crushing the grass below. One small step for mankind. And that was it. Extremely anti-climatic. Until I take 3 more steps and BOOM. I stepped on a boulder nearly broke my ankle and fell to the ground.
Obviously, now I realize that in this unmaintained “pasture?” like situation, there are boulders strewn about. Which makes sense because the house sits about 2 feet from Lake Michigan. But the difference is that on the beach you can see said boulders and avoid them. But in the “meadow?” they are hidden under foliage. Anyways, after I assess my legs to make sure nothing is broken, Renn provided an excellent Brace command and helped me get up. It was smooth sailing from there. I did this for about 15 minutes and headed in the house feeling exceptionally satisfied. I knew that if I can do that… I can most certainly walk in the forest on a trail. So the next day, that’s what we did.
Being an avid forager, she knew of the perfect beginner trail for me to try. She was probably prouder of me than I was of myself. The entire time she took pictures and video and made sure I didn’t minimize the significance of this accomplishment; I have a tendency to do that. And as much as I hate taking pictures by myself, I am glad she captured the moment. Though at the time I was rolling my eyes lol. We walked nearly 2 miles that day.
The entirety of the story is somewhat underwhelming… BUT it was another “First, Since” that I am positive opened the door to many more adventures to happen during the Everyday Movement. In conclusion I wanted ti share this story because I am constantly saying that the most significant battles, since my injury, have not really been physical; rather, they have been mental. And this was undoubtedly one of those mental battles, and if I would have let it consume me, it would have kept me from experiencing life in a manner that is authentic to myself.