It’s hard to believe my not so little list of New Year’s Resolutions has become something which has transformed my life. I remember thinking that 2019 had to mean more than any other year, and in the past four months it’s proven to be true.
When it was suggested by one of my fabulous friends that I walk around the local park it sounded easy, a quick stroll and nothing more, but it soon turned into a challenge. It was a walk for charity, then it was a mile and a half walk for charity, then it was a mile and a half walk for charity in an hour and a half, then a date was set, then it became an actual event, and then I really had to take it seriously and put the work in. It was no longer just about me, it was about Lincoln Drill Hall and Lincoln Samaritans.
Two months down the line from when I first began training for this. Lee, my amazing Personal Trainer, had said we were going to step it up a notch by increasing my distance to 0.75 of a mile. The following week, on the way to Skegness pier, he announced we were going to walk there and back which totalled a full mile. As much as I was dubious about how well it would go, I didn’t argue. This guy has got me walking on a treadmill and walking with a Zimmer frame, and I evidently haven’t died in the process, so what could go wrong?
My legs set off with little complaint which made me think that for once they were actually going to play ball. However, we hadn’t even reached the halfway point before my hip started to click and my ankle started to grind. This escalated from a mild irritation, to a raging pain in the arse (or legs). All the while Lee is zooming around in my chair like a kid on crack, marvelling at what a beautiful day it was. Every few steps he’d spout some motivational shit about how we’d “got this”, how “we had all the time in the world”, but also how “we needed to pick up the pace”. It was alright for him, he was gliding on wheels. I was the one stepping over dog poo that had been left in a bag to blow about in the wind whilst attempting to stop my walker from veering to its preferred left-hand side.
I think that’s the thing, isn’t it? When we’re in a crap mood and generally disheartened or low, we take it out on those who are closest to us. We also tend to bottle things up or deflect the issue to someone or something else. As a nation, we’re not great at feeling our feelings, or is that just me?
From a personal perspective, training at Elite Fit has been a huge help in altering the way I deal with life. More often than not, as I walk, I mentally write a blog which, in turn, sparks creativity which then dictates how I go about the rest of my week. I can always tell when I haven’t trained or written enough, or when I haven’t spent enough time with the right kinda folks because I go a tad scatty. But what if people don’t have those outlets?
With that, the conversation in my head went full circle. It wasn’t just about me; it was about the charities who work tirelessly to ensure people feel valued, nurtured and heard. I know I keep banging on about this, to the point where I wonder if some of you are getting bored of reading my spiel, but I can’t stress enough how fantastic they are; despite being so different. As a theatre, the Drill Hall focuses on fostering and showcasing creative talent which results in a diverse community of authentic expression. Couple this with the fact that Lincoln Samaritans are just a phone call away for people who are finding the challenges of life hard to bear, and the organisations both offer a safe haven for those in need. They’re a match made in heaven.
On that note, I thought I better stop moping about my dysfunctional limbs and work with what I had. I have the opportunity to make a difference regardless, and because of my cerebral palsy, I have amazingly supportive friends who I wouldn’t be without, and I have promises to keep. So, let’s crack on.
I dragged myself to the end of the pier. I hauled myself up a few hills and I skated down them (with marginally less control than I hoped for). With Lee literally pushing and pulling me along the way, I dragged myself back. Just before my brain disconnected from my body, my legs turned to jelly and I almost face-planted the floor in front of a bunch of people who were enjoying the sea view, we had a moment to regain oxygen, take photos and come up with cheesy, inspirational quotes that accurately portray everyone’s vision:
“You are where you need to be. Just take a deep breath”.