Sometimes it’s from our own doing, sometimes not. But no matter the cause, how you deal with the consequences makes all the difference.
Two weeks ago during practice (spin mode video) I felt a popping sensation in my stomach. I didn’t think much of it at the moment, but as I was doubled over in pain that evening I began to wonder if the popping sound was not so innocent after all. Two doctor’s appointments and one ultrasound later it’s been confirmed: I’ve got a hernia.
Thankfully it’s not large enough to warrant surgery, and it’s fairly common in new moms. While pregnant, your Rectus Abdominis (6 pack) spreads apart as your stomach expands. However, unlike the rest of your belly, it doesn’t shrink back to normal (or as normal as you can get after shooting a baby out of your lady cannon) after birth. This creates a weak spot in your abdominal wall; your body eventually fills the gap with cartilage, but this can take a long time (re: years). While under exertion, your weakest spots are under the most force. So when push comes to shove, voila! Umbilical Hernia!
It’s going to be hanging out in my belly button for a while now (re: forever), and I need to take a 6 week break from any abdominal exercises to let my muscles recover. At the moment even the act of putting my two year old in a shopping cart feels like I’m putting my abs through a paper shredder, so it’s safe to say I won’t be attempting a flag for a long, long time.
Of course I’m pissed that I can’t compete. I’m not a robot; I get sad, mad, glad and sometimes crazy every now and then. But being emotional, shrugging it off or prayers to Satan is not going to change the fact that I need to rest, and trying to power through the pain anyway like some pole dancing martyr is about the stupidest thing I could do. There will be more competitions and those purple sequin bootyshorts will one day have their chance to sparkle.
Now, I don’t believe in Things Happening For A Reason, I believe in looking for opportunities to better yourself instead of being miserable by choice (because it’s always a choice). I see this as the perfect time to once and for all become as flexible as I am strong.
You’d think not being able to do basic Aerial moves would motivate me to stretch. You’d think having an ugly Extended Butterfly would motivate me to stretch. You’d think watching an entire class of intermediate level girls drop into splits would motivate me to stretch. Nope! I think I truly believed that one day I would get out of bed, trip, and fall into a painless center split. “Oh, would you look at that!” I’ve got 6 weeks to make it happen, and would you believe it, stretching every day makes a huuuuuuuuuuuge fucking difference!
I’ve been in Super Serious Stretching mode for two weeks now and I shit you not, I am actually getting close to the splits on one side. Now, before you say anything, I am not going to crazy town with this. I don’t stretch if I feel pain, and I don’t hold a pose for longer than a minute at a time. I make sure I’m really warmed up and use a heating pad on the targeted muscle while in the stretch. I got that idea from Alethea Austin (above), and as she’s the Sexy Flexy Queen I’m going to gobble up any advice she spits out.
For the first time in my life, I am really excited about stretching. I no longer eye my yoga mat with a look of disdain and visions of Jade Drops dance in my head as I drift off to La-La land.
I’m still upset about the timing (I know I said I don’t care about winning, just want to do my best and blah-blah, but fuck it. I wanted to win a title.) but I’m looking forward to gracing the stage one day with fully extended legs.
And I get to bathe in moisturizers because I can, so neener-neener.