Three things a cyclist need; a bike, hills, and her knees.
I still have my knees but they are taped and can’t I bend my legs properly, so no cycling. I walk up and down the stairs like I should be saying, fee, fi, f,o fum. And my feet are taped, too. Taped to make them unflat. Apparently flat feet is a condition. That’s crap, they’re just feet. Like blue eyes are blue. How flat feet can mess up your knees, make them crinkly and gravely, and eventually inflamed, that’s the condition. It’s called Crepitus of the knee. If there were ever a name of something that sounded more apt than Crepitus, I’d love to know what it is.
‘How are you today?’
‘I’m feeling a little Crepitus. You?’
The taping is like a scaffold for my muscles and joints. It puts my kneecaps where they should be and makes my feet unflat. I feel like a new person in that I have to learn to walk again and I’ve adjusted the seat in my car. I feel a little not me. But I’ll be a new me in a manner of weeks or months. My knees will align and my muscles will remember something new.
I had the taping done today but I’d been thinking about scaffolding since Tuesday when I took Darren, my late sister’s partner, to his grief counselor. The counselor, a handsome rugged bloke called Alex, wants Darren to think about what his real problems are.
Initially I sat opposite and wondered what Alex was driving at. His bloody life partner is dead that what his bloody problem is you gorgeous, gorgeous tool! But Alex is the professional and he’s seen Darren half a dozen times. I’m a fellow bereaved dude missing Libby, my perspective has none because sometimes I can’t see the wood for all the green crying trees that surround Platypus Rock.
To watch Darren in therapy is excruciating. He wriggles on his chair, he clenches his fists and his face, he stutters, he searches for answers, he does a lot of blaming himself. Eventually, Alex talked about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. ACT.
When you’re first asked what your values are it can be hard to answer. Values? Really? Not goals?
We generally get stuck on the way to the way up, the ladder, the path, the steps to take, and we don’t often think about the way we would take them, what characteristics we want to have to live our lives to our higher purpose. What’s a higher purpose anyhow? And do they come sugar-free?
Darren talked about goals. No Darren, not goals. When he said his values, when pushed, he said a fulfilling life and happiness. Alex didn’t shut him down but he did point out that in life there are often days when we are not happy, we can’t be happy all the time. What then?
Tuesday was warm, fine, a sunlit breeze, we walked back to the car and talked about the session. I said maybe you could think of values as your scaffolding. I guess that’s how I look at mine. Kindness, love, learning, paying attention, are the things that hold me up and keep me together. Sometimes I’m wobbly on them, especially kindness, especially at work, where the customer is not always right.
Darren needs more scaffolding. He has his family, and his boss, if he ever gets back to work, and his doctors and us. That’s part of it. One day Darren will be okay. He will accept that she is gone and he lean on his scaffolding, add to it, learn from it, and get his life back.
Cycling is my thing, a strong bit of scaffolding, and even when I’m not riding I could be. Believe me wanting to is a big step ahead of where I have been since Libby died. Now I’m not allowed to hit the trails for a month, maybe two, and just when I’ve halved the dose of my anti-depressant. The timing is excellent. I’m towards scared my good mood will dip.
But it’s okay because I have scaffolding, lots of it, family, friends, medication, ideas, and a physiotherapist. Some day soon I will lose the tape, build the muscle, get orthotics, and get my knees back and I will ride.
see how we’re propping each other up?
i’ve got her, she’s got him, he’s got me,
that’s some strong scaffolding