Posted on 1/31/2013 by downsizinghoss
When you are morbidly obese, many of the most basic things in life are extremely difficult. Primary among these things is the simple act of walking. It is something that most healthy people take totally for granted. To be truthful I always looked down on it as a form of exercise. Jogging seemed so much more like the punishment that exercise was supposed to be in my messed up head.
When you weigh in excess of 500 pounds though, just getting off the sofa is hard, much less walking anywhere.
Walking was pain. Back pain, knee pain, emotional pain, and a heavy dose of guilt for not being able to do something so simple. As you walk, you shuffle your feet more than walk. You avoid rough terrain and bumps because any little trip and you might not be quick enough or strong enough to catch yourself. Even on flat ground, an uneven seam in the concrete has to be noticed. The slightest misstep can tweak your ankle or your knee. Your body can't support you and every step is painful. Every step is a reminder and you start looking for somewhere to sit. You want somewhere to hide from the pain and the shame of how you must look waddling along like a penguin. You don't see anything but where you are going to place your next step. You focus on how much farther you have, and when it will be over. You look down and push.
That isn't walking, that is struggling.
Today, I went to the woods. It was a state park not far from my home. It was a beautiful day with a slight chill in the air. The wind was blowing through the trees and the leaves were scurrying along the path as if getting out of my way. It was a true revelation. There was no pain, no torture. My stride has lengthened, my steps are higher, there is a certainty to my footfalls. I don't have to look where the next step goes. As I was walking I realized something amazing.
I was outside, in the woods, and it was a perfect day.
I didn't have to stare at the ground. I wasn't looking for a bench. There was no urgency to make it stop. There was a whole world around me.
The wind was whipping through the trees as if she was desperately trying to push me along. The dull roar of her through the branches and the leaves sounded like applause as if the whole forest was cheering me on. I could see where animals had made little pathways through the bushes. I could look out and see the sun bouncing off the lake and hitting me in the eyes as if putting me in the spotlight.
When the path cut through a field, the tall grass on either side waved as if a thousand cheering banners were celebrating the warrior's return to Rome down a promenade of twigs and leaves. I wasn't walking anymore, I was living. I was in a world that had ceased to exist for almost 20 years and it was an amazing place that deserved far more attention than I have given it.
I looked down at my watch and realized that I had been walking for almost an hour. It hadn't been painful, it had been beautiful. I wasn't looking for it to end. I turned back with almost a sense of remorse as I had yet to see what was around the next corner, but knew that I had to get home.
But now, I know it is there. Now I don't need a map, or an excuse. I don't need somewhere to sit, or a plan of attack. Now I simply need the time to keep going.
I will most definitely find the time, for I learned something amazing today.
I learned to walk again.