Coffee in my left hand, ankle-gate insights in my right

A funny, tragic thing happened to me on the way to my basement. I fell down the stairs, dislocated and broke my ankle in several places. When I tell you it was more gross and painful than childbirth, I need you to believe me. Every time I looked at it my stomach turned and I nearly vomited. At one point my son was like “Mom, please don’t look it at, please”.

But this isn’t about the details of the accident, or ankle-gate (believe it or not it still makes me shudder to think about it). Today’s post is about the statement that kicked off my healing process.

I’d been home about 2 weeks, still very much in pain and very high on pain killers. I’d been putting on a brave face for most, leaving my tears to the nighttime. Depression set it quite quickly; pain, helplessness, and narcotics will do that to you. Friends were surrounding me constantly with offers of help, food, visits, calls, etc., but the sadness was always lurking below the surface.

I got a call one day to check on me, and during the chat the caller said “well, at least you didn’t lose your leg or anything. You’ll heal”. Now, as well intended as that advice was, it landed on me like a knife and at the time I didn’t know why.

Fast forward later that week, another friend called to see how I was doing. I went on and on about being blessed in spite of, by His stripes, the sun’ll come out tomorrow…

She stopped me in the middle of my gospel stage play and said, “I don’t know why Black women always feel like they have to be strong, and can never just admit that things aren’t going well. Sometimes you get to say ‘this shit sucks.'”

This. Shit. Sucks. Those three words fell on me like hugs, kisses, therapy sessions, old fashions and rainbows. In that moment, she gave me permission to release 2 weeks of trauma, sadness, worry and fear. Just giving me permission to feel what I felt with no need to spare anyone. My situation didn’t have to be less than or greater than anyone else’s pain; it was happening to me and it sucked. I wept on that phone, and I mean snotty, heaving weeping, until it felt better.

And felt better it did. That aforementioned knife was removed (which was never really a knife to begin with), requirements I’d placed on myself were lifted, and the sun finally did come out.

I’m generally a bright side, glass half full kinda person. But I needed to acknowledge what I was feeling, give myself permission to, as my BFF says “roll around on the floor” and not be perfect. To simply say “this shit sucks”, and then move on to healing. Because sometimes the holding on, pretending everything is okay, and that nothing phases you, is heavier than the actual burden you’re carrying.

And yes, this is a temporary burden. And it could’ve been worse, but wasn’t. And 8-10 wks of not being able to walk or work isn’t the worst thing that could happen to a person.

But it does, in fact, suck. And that’s okay.

Coffee in my left hand, ankle-gate insight in my right.


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