|The Mighty Women paddle a dragon boat!|
This week, I had to hang up my paddle.
Here's why: It opened wounds from five years ago when I was newly divorced and was laid off. I had to sell my house in the lowest housing market in decades. In weeks, I emptied a four-bedroom house and gave away much of my possessions.
Because I was unemployed, the only apartment I could afford had homeless people scavenging in the garbage bin right outside my door at all hours. I didn't feel safe. I had a hard time sleeping. My life had turned upside down. Overnight, my status changed from secure, middle-class soccer mom to unemployed woman living on the edge.
Five years later, I'm a different woman. I'm stronger--and not not just physically stronger. After having endured hard things, I've learned that I'm emotionally, mentally and spiritually stronger too. I am grateful for the hardships because they have molded me into the woman I am today.
But that doesn't mean I'm requesting an encore in hardship. When the news of layoffs came last week, they dredged up those past hardships and the panic--of feeling that I couldn't control what was happening in my life. I started thinking about what would happen if I were laid off too. I don't have a house to lose anymore. That's already happened.
I do have a wonderful place I call "home." For more than two years, I have been housemates with my retired minister and his wife. I pay below-market rent for their mother-in-law suite, which has the perks of a view of the woods, a hot tub, and fresh raspberries, blueberries and strawberries just steps outside my door. I've also forged a friendship with this long-married couple. It's been good for me to witness a healthy, long-time marriage. If I were laid off, I likely wouldn't lose my home. I wouldn't be homeless. That was a relief, yet I still worried about the "what ifs."
As much as I'd like to avoid further hardship, life has a way of flinging it our way. Last week, I also had to come to grips with this hard fact: It's time to hang up my dragon boat paddle. It's been nine months since I crushed both wrists in my four-wheeler accident. After surgery and months of physical therapy, this spring I returned to the Mighty Women's dragon boat and paddled with my team. I even paddled during the races in Tacoma. That homecoming was sweet.
But paddling a dragon boat takes a lot of strength, not to mention arm range of motion and wrist mobility. After every paddling practice, my left wrist was in pain. I have to listen to my body and give up the sport--and the team that changed my life. So I reluctantly told the news to Jeanie, my coach who has pushed me, molded me into a Mighty Woman.
In the meantime, I'm continuing to work on my physical therapy on my own. I am determined to get more range of motion, more mobility, more strength. I may not be able to paddle a dragon boat, but I'm confident that soon I'll be able to leisurely paddle a kayak on flat water. I can strap on my backpack and take a hike. I have already done a little swing dancing--another activity that requires lots of arm movement. And while wearing my buckskin skirt, I beat my drum around a campfire while surrounded by friends. My transformation from soccer mom to hippie chick is complete.
|My transformation from middle-class soccer mom to hippie chick is complete!|
|I'm the woman with the dragon tattoo!|
I can handle anything.