Here is part of the Dictionary.com definition of recover:
–verb (used with object)
1. to get back or regain (something lost or taken away): to recover a stolen watch.
2. to make up for or make good (loss, damage, etc., to oneself).
3. to regain the strength, composure, balance, or the like, of (oneself).
I have been thinking a lot about recovery lately, because my back is much better. I only noticed this by the absence of pain. Funny how that happens – pain goes away, you regain strength, health, whatever, and you don’t even notice that it has happened. Until you wake up lying on your right side, which used to be excruciating. I feel strong in the back of me, and although I’m still hyper-mobile, I have learnt all sorts of interesting things – not least of which is that if I walk differently, taking smaller steps and landing on the middle of my heel, suggested by my ever-wise husband and backed up by this article, my right psoas doesn’t go into spasm. And when it doesn’t spasm, it doesn’t pull my right SI joint out of alignment. Probably not of much interest to you, but to me, what with walking five to 10 kilometres a day, it’s very interesting! So this is recovery at the most obvious, physical level.
Another kind of recovery has been creeping up on me too. The kind where you get back something that was lost or taken from you. What was lost? My sense of personal freedom and safety. Yup. I didn’t even know that I had lost these. Probably because, coming from an unsafe society, my idea of ‘ normal’ has been distorted.
What was normal for me in Johannesburg? This is going to ruffle some feathers, I know, but it is my truth, so I am going to write it anyway:
- Living in a security complex with a 24-hour guard
- Locking our security gate and front door, our bedroom door and all windows before going to sleep
- Hearing gun shots in the distance at least once a week (sometimes not that far away, either)
- Breaking into a cold sweat if the telephone rings after nine at night because it is probably Bad News
- Waking at three in the morning, more or less every day. Not sure why, just hyper-alert and waiting for…something
- Getting nervous whenever a group of young men approach your car on foot. Because it’s quite possible that they are going to put a gun to the window and force you out of your car
- Never, ever, walking anywhere at night. Or in daylight for that matter. Unless you are in a large group and have pepper spray or dogs with you
- Seeing AK-47 toting security guards on street corners in your neighborhood
- Being the victim of multiple robberies, petty or otherwise, and knowing many people who have been held up in their homes, or hurt in some way in the course of crime
- Having a nephew who, at three, didn’t know what a park was because he had never been too one. It’s too dangerous.
What is normal for me in Melbourne?
- Walking around on my own. During the day. Also, at night. Sometimes late at night
- Sitting in the park, one of the many that surround my house
- Going to bed and forgetting to lock the front door
- Carrying a handbag that doesn’t zip up. I don’t have to bother, particularly, about my stuff being snatched
- Sleeping through the night. And never hearing gunshots. Not even one
- Forgetting my yoga mat bag (complete with wallet, ipod, and ipod speakers) in a restaurant and knowing for sure it will be there when I go looking for it. It was, by the way. Nothing missing
- Never getting that creeping sensation of fear when you hear footsteps behind you. They invariably belong to another young woman walking about her business
The net result of this recovery is that I suddenly have the mental and emotional space to wonder at the spring blossoms, enjoy birdsong, savour sunsets, and just generally enjoy being alive. Because I am not, at some subconscious level, afraid that today will be my last. And the most amazing thing? I chose this. Just as I chose to live in Johannesburg long after I had stopped feeling in any way comfortable, safe, or welcome there.
It’s good to know that better, healthier choices are possible. Yay! And double-yay for my friends the possums, resident in the parks that I spend so much time in and evident during the day only by their poop. How cute is this?
- SI Joint Pain and Yoga (yogawithnadine.com)
- Heal (yogawithnadine.com)
- The Healing Power of Yoga (byronyoga.com)