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Posted on Aug 15, 2011 in change, fear | 8 comments

The Second Rule About Fight Club

by Jill MacGregor

I’m learning a big lesson right now, I think. About fighting. I love to fight—fight for what’s right—or better—fight to BE right.

Oh, but there’s more. It feels good to fight to prove you’re strong, fight to prove you can, fight because sometimes easy doesn’t feel as valuable. Fight to tell the world something’s important.

I fight a lot. Not always for the right causes.

What would happen if all the energy I put into fight was put into something else?

So… this lesson. I understand that until I finally learn the lesson(s) I will be a fighting machine—and probably not in a good way.

I’m starting to think that instead of fighting, the real issue may be to find the way to let something be good and positive just the way it is. Not as a pushover. More in a *breathe deep aaaaand release* kind of way.

You may have noticed that I haven’t written for a while…it feels horrible, by the way, as if I am very hungry but am only allowed to eat Pixie Stix. As if I am going to a beautiful art museum only to be met by elaborate displays of chicken bones and bent fork mobiles…banjos in the background… As if I can’t get the last pickle out of the jar…you get it. It’s unsatisfying, to say the least.

I guess I have a story here.

It starts with pain.

Pain is great reminder that something is wrong. And I’ve been getting reminded regularly that something is wrong with a pain that grabs my hip like an angry fist. Digging into me and stopping me in my tracks—like a horrible game of freeze tag I never asked to join. This thing has reacquainted me with finite. And I HATE finite. Finite is a bully who takes away my choice.

Lesson 1: Find the infinite beauty in all things even when they’re a pain in the ass.

So, here it is: my clutch is slipping and I can feel it going.

Several months ago, I started limping–again. And that may seem like nothing to you. But to me it is a big, giant *uh oh*. Decades of my life have been marked with this: limp, cut, hobble, limp, heal, limp…repeat. It’s my hip. Three surgeries since I was 12 and now another one. At this stage it is unexpected, or at least, premature.

Now they recommend a hip replacement.

This is a problem with a solution. What’s the big deal then?

It’s not supposed to happen now. Simple as that. My last surgery occurred so this wouldn’t have to happen for many years.

Lesson 2: Find the opportunity in Plan B and embrace the moment, even though your choice is not the choice.

This was not what I was expecting to hear when I visited the doctor. And once I dried my angry tears and was left just with my anger, I devised a plan. A plan to trick my hip…wouldn’t be the first time I done it.

I’ve developed a strategy throughout my life. If I can’t figure something out, can’t make it do what I want, I have learned that I can hack it.

hack: an inelegant but effective solution to solving a problem

So I began to work my plan to find ways to trick this thing, this troublesome hip.

I decided to mind over matter the hell out of it. I dragged my hip to the gym and made it walk fast on the treadmill—and do lots of leg presses—like a normal hip would. Yea…not so much with this one but it did accentutate that gimp along I was perfecting.

I went to a healer. I am a firm believer in things I cannot explain. I’d visited this healer before and he delivered relief I couldn’t explain. This healer converses with my spirit guides while I lay on a massage table, eavesdropping.

His hands hover over me, never touching my fully clothed body, plucking at the air as if an invisible harp is resting the length of my body.

“So, we’re going to work on growing cartilage and muscle.”

“Dude,” I respond. I mean I know he’s a healer but…dude.

“And it will be uncomfortable.”

“Uncomfortable would be a step up”, I say.

He continues plucking at the air.

“So, what do my spirit guides think about me?” I interrupt.

He laughs at their silent response. “They say you are doing the best a human can do.”

PS: We didn’t grow any new cartilage or new muscle.

I add new tricks to my plan.

I started doing deep -painful- fascia massage.

And swimming a lot.

And acupuncture.

That all helped. At my 2nd opinion months later with Dr. Terribly Cute I was forced to fess up when he greeted me with “How are you walking on that thing?”. that thing = my wonkus hip

I tried everything I could to affect change. All I did was manage some of the pain.

So…I’m getting the clutch replaced.

Lesson 3: Accepting the fact that you can’t change some situations, no matter how hard you fight, doesn’t make you weak.

Recently I have moments when I think about my current hip being replaced and I feel something surprising. I’ve begun to understand that there is no part of my body that has worked harder, fought again and again to be like it’s mate—even in its weakest, most worn out, drilled into, stitched up moments—only to be replaced with a chunk of ceramic and a titanium rod. How hard will this new inanimate piece fight to be strong and normal?

Lesson 4: See the strength in the damaged part of yourself, emotional and/or physical. Your weakness can be the thing that makes you strong because it urges you to fight harder.

My body knows so little of normal but maybe we can all say that to some degree. Everything’s connected to everything and when my hip is crooked, my back compensates, and my neck and my knee…my crazy Jenga configuration.

What do I know from sockets that fit smoothly into their joints? My hitch has had a get along for almost 40 years. My body fights to fit together. I grind and pop and not in a way that would make you want to throw dollar bills in my direction.

Lesson 5: Shit. I’m getting old…

I’m afraid I can’t do it any other way than crooked.

I’m afraid my artificial parts won’t fight as hard.

I’m afraid that *normal* will be harder.

I’m afraid I won’t heal.

Lesson 6: You know you’re standing close to the heart of it, close to the answer you need, when you feel Fear thumping you in the back of the head. Think of Fear as that extra cup of coffee—you’re not going to sleep as well but, boy, are you going to be alert to what’s going on—inside and out.

Might be a reason.

If you liked this, you may also want to read these—just because they always make me feel better:

  • How to Make Fear Your Bitch—Turning Fear Into Challenge
  • What Makes People Mean
  • Not Quite Ice But No Longer Water

  • Image Credit


    1. Thanks so much for writing. I’d missed you, but trusted that something more important was occupying you. Sorry to hear that it’s this. I often wonder what else we own that’s nearly fifty years old (in my case) and in pristine condition: nothing. I try to remind myself of this.

    2. At the end of the day, every individual decides whether health is that important to them. Of those, not many will have the strength and the will to be able to actually do anything about it. We can talk about it forever, but it’s the individual’s capability to carry these things out that will count, not the actual event itself.

    3. By fighting your pain, you’re trying to deny it. “If I ignore it it’ll just go away.” Good to know I’m not the only one who uses this (usually ineffective) ploy.
      Missed your writing… but keep fighting the good fight – maybe with better ammo – bionic parts! :)

    4. I’m both sorry you have to go through this and also a bit envious. My problem is my head and, I’ll tell ya’, if I could get a titanium replacement for that I’d do it in a second. In any case, I’m glad you’re writing again. I always look forward to your posts.

    5. Jill, if anyone has the determination, sense of self, and introspection to make this work, it’s you. I’m excited for your pain-free phase of life. We won’t be able to keep up with you now :)

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