My Foot Fracture Experience: What Being In A Cast Had Taught Me
I was in a foot cast for 4 weeks.
It was an interesting and humbling experience that I’m grateful it happened to me but I don’t wish it upon anyone. Not because of the discomfort but more so because of the medical costs.
But I’m not going to touch upon that today. Instead, I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned from this incident.
Independence is a creation of capitalism
As an invalid, I needed help. Lots of help.
I was not used to asking for help. I grew up learning to be “independent”.
I’ve lived away from my family when I went to college and then university. I lived alone in a studio apartment on my last year of uni. I’ve solo-travelled before and journeying on airplane alone don’t scare me.
While the media has sold us the independent life—gain passive income, buy your own house, get a car—I found that it doesn’t really exist.
Being dependent made me realise that.
Say you are living comfortably with passive income and zero debt. You’re still dependent on whether your money safe in the bank and the money itself. If your money’s gone, then that’s it.
Say you are living on an off-grid farm that sounds like a life of independence. Yes, it may be a life free from government control but you are dependent on something else. You’re dependent on the land to give you food, the solar energy to give electricity, and the water from a nearby river.
Whether how rich or poor you are, you’re very much dependent on something.
And so I can see now that independence is a myth.
Not many would go out of the way for you
My brother had been the most helpful in the family.
He would do even the smallest things like bringing my plate of food on the table a few hops away and opening the car door, both of which I could’ve technically done by myself with a bit of struggle.
I didn’t go out that much mostly because of the lockdown restriction. But even once it was lifted, I only went out alone once. Other times I was with my brother going out for lunch.
While friends wished me well, not many had gone out of their way to visit me or send me chocolates.
This strengthened my acquired belief that only your obligate family members or very closed ones would go out of their way to help you or cheer you up.
Other people just have their own lives to worry about.
You will feel like giving up
The first week in the cast was torture both physically and emotionally.
Imagine you’re in quite a pain and you’re adjusting to a new life with crutches. This means your mobility range is significantly reduced and you’d need to change the way you move. For me, it was a lot of hopping and using my arms. I also had to use my core muscles and butt to climb the stairs.
It was tiring—no—exhausting.
But in time, you will get stronger
With all that arm, leg and core exercises, your body will adapt and get stronger.
Now I can easily hop 70 times in a row before my calf muscles start burning. My biceps and triceps have become more toned. And I believe my core muscles are a lot stronger now.
In a way, I’m grateful for this forced weight training exercise.
Besides the physical strength I gained, I’ve also gained emotional and mental strength.
Being in a cast had forced me to slow down tremendously and this had allowed me to take one step at a time. Because I’m able to slow down my activities, I’m also able to pay attention to my thoughts a lot more.
But I think that if I hadn’t started my mindfulness meditation and breathwork practice way beforehand I would’ve struggled even more.
After that first week of sweat and tears, I was able to pick myself back up and tap into my meditation practice.
Right now, I genuinely feel that I’m in a good place.
Understanding the concept of self-love even deeper
With all that said, my understanding of self-love has changed.
I thought I did love myself.
But that first week in the cast brought up this feeling of hatred and disgust.
I was annoyed and disgusted with myself for being so careless. It may not seem like my fault but in retrospect, I could have chosen not to practice the dance power move—the jump kick technique—in my room barefoot. I got distracted when I accidentally kicked the table and so I landed wrongly, fracturing my foot.
So I questioned whether I actually loved myself. And if not, could I ever love myself fully?
Sure I love my body, I love how my mind has developed, I love certain parts of myself. But I did not love other parts of myself that are more intangible like how I speak or behave in certain situations.
At this point, I’m still working on loving myself fully.