Last week was quite delicious. And gratifying. And exciting. And rewarding.
I did not win a mega jackpot lottery or get a new car or home or land a huge contract. What I did get were the oh-so-sweet rewards for years of patience, dedication and determination. I got pieces of my life back.
Every Monday night as far back as I can remember is Pilates night. It took me years to master the moves, strength and agility needed in class. In 2011, I still had moves to master but I was so happy with how I had developed over the years. Then I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2011 and Gluten Ataxia in 2013. I lost all strength, dexterity and my brain and body literally forgot how to do anything and my brain was not sending the proper messaging to my limbs. My legs would plummet to the floor, my arms did not work and were in severe pain, my body would tremor in protest and the simplest moves became utterly exhausting. I would silently cry throughout every class either from complete system overwhelm, sheer frustation or both. And I would leave walking like I was drunk having just got off a roller coaster. Over the years, Pilates grew to become an integral part of my physiotherapy as it was one of the only forms of physical movement I could participate in.
On February 1, 2016, in a Pilates class, I got a push-up back after years of trying. It was one of the sweetest moments of my life. I did feel like I had won the lottery. This Monday I got another “simple” move back – after 7 years of sheer dedication! My teacher laughed out loud in celebration as did I. Sweet victory! I still have to adapt a lot of moves and hold my legs up with a band but I am grinning. I am thrilled. I am so beyond grateful it is ridiculous. I never thought I would get back to this level of strength.
The next day I did a photo shoot – in high heels. Something that again, I used to do regularly as a model which left my life when I developed severe balance and dizziness issues and an adverse reaction (not being able to walk or talk) to gluten in make-up and beauty products. I used my own gluten-free make-up kit for this one and rocked those heels!
And to close a week of ridiculously sweet accomplishments, I did a fashion runway show on Saturday. In high heels. Under bright lights with loud pumping music. I flashed back to the last runway I was able to walk in 2012, in which I was in a complete panic as I walked out in severe pain to a massive crowd at Toronto Fashion Week and felt the room swirling around me, my feet and legs feeling like they would give out, the music and lights actually hurting and splitting into a million moving parts attacking my senses, knowing that something was severely wrong. I flashed back to having so much trouble simply doing up a button, a zipper, changing my own clothes, putting on shoes. I’ve done a plethora of runway shows over 25 years and I don’t think one can be sweeter than the last. What a gift.
A simple exercise move. Standing in high heels. Walking in a show. We don’t realize what lights us up until it’s taken away. We don’t realize how many pieces of our identity make us who we are until they vanish from our lives. We don’t realize the gift of movement and how it helps define us and the confidence and joy it gives us until it disappears. And we don’t realize how many gifts are given to us regularly in seemingly insignifcant moments. Life is delicous, every moment, every day in so many ways.