09 Nov How A Broken Bone Becomes a Metaphor For Personal Healing
When I misstepped off that concrete step in July I never thought it would have such an impact on my life. I broke the 5th metatarsal bone in my left foot, spraining both ankles and causing tissue and muscle damage to the left one. It made for a long summer, testing all my vulnerabilities and contributing to the breakup of a relationship.
Today, some 16 weeks later, the bone is still fractured. I’m not healing as well or as quickly as expected. The doctor’s statement triggered unexpected emotions. I can’t really say why, but three different issues of the last few days all came together to make this so challenging, but they did. And, maybe it was one of those messages from the Universe… unresolved issues I need to look at, yet again.
I want to “fix” my foot. It becomes the metaphor for how I want to deal with things in my life that still elicit pain after all these years. And, at this age, I have an accumulation of aches and tiny fractures, figuratively. I am healing and healing takes its own pace. I can’t fix this broken bone and I can’t fix the past hurts.
Wounds heal in their own time; sometimes in spite of us. Certainly there are things I can do to facilitate my physical healing, to make my body receptive. I’m taking lots of calcium, eating the proper foods and massaging my foot. I’m following the expert’s recommendations and exercising great caution. But, I can’t reach down and knit that bone together. I’ll be getting a fancy, expensive bone ‘stimulator’ which worn 3 hours a day will promote bone development, or so the orthopedist says.
My less obvious hurts and wounds will require some kind of effort on my part as well. My version of fixing is to seek external validation for what I missed growing up. Or to hold back discomfort and pretend that things are all well. Being single again has triggered some of my old issues and I’ve tried sweets as a temporary fix-gained 3 or 4 pounds in the last month. I’ve buried my head in the books again, allowing myself to be transported off to fictional lands far away. And, I’ve clamped down on my emotions in a way that brings great stress and tension to neck, shoulders and upper body.
These old wounds require a different strategy. They need recognition, coddling, comforting and reassurance. It will be OK. I am already OK and that won’t change. The vulnerability I feel in my aloneness is compounded by the natural vulnerable feelings one gets with aging and the hints of future infirmities. I’m made of strong stuff, I’ve dealt with adversity and have survived; nay thrived. Growing old is not for sissies, and today, for the first time, I had a moment of fear about a future of bad bones and my solitary life. I can whine and look miserable here on the blog, write about pain and try to milk my readers for sympathy, but really that’s just kinda pitiful.
I love the phrase “man up” and whatever the female equivalent is, that’s what I plan to do. In a gentler, nurturing, forgiving way. We all have frailties- we all have to learn to accept them. I’m no less an outrageous older woman, because I have the occasional weak moment, I’m strong enough to allow them to show, to accept and embrace all of me. That is the healing potion I need to apply-heart, foot, life.