So I’ve talked a while ago about my body being the stallion and my mind being the rider, and how I need to listen to my body as if I were riding a horse. That is, if I intent to go the distance. I could very well keep burning through my power, and see where that would get me.
Then I figured out that I couldn’t let my body dictate the terms either: if I indulge too much in resting, we’ll get used to moving slowly, and I can’t have that.
All in all, throughout this trip, I have finally managed to get my mind & my body to find a sort of balance between them. But there’s one more lesson I need to learn.
So I wasn’t at the top of my game today, which is the understatement of the year. I had been extremely tired the day before, and both my ears were ringing. When I woke up, the right ear (A-G-A-I-N) felt stiff, swollen, and painful.
I felt it coming though. It was already burning pretty badly the day before, but not yet painful. I am so used to discarding pain, that when I feel something is painful, it’s the sort of pain I cannot ignore anymore.
I guess I got that from the leg muscle-tear I got playing soccer when I was 10 years old. Because all the adults assumed that I was faking it because I hated soccer at school, they kept saying that I was faking it to get out of soccer practice. (I honestly don’t know how they got to this conclusion, since I had been playing soccer with my brothers all the time, and it was about THE ONLY SPORT I actually liked).
I guess I ended up telling myself that I was not really hurt, and I kept walking — or rather, limping on that injured leg for about 2 weeks. Until one morning, I couldn’t take it anymore. I sat up on the stairs of our house, and demanded to see a doctor, refusing to move until promised so. My dad said he would take me after school, so I limped another day on it, until finally, a doctor examined me.
What might have been a minor tear if treated & rested properly early on, had become a knee tendinitis, made worse by my constant limping on it.
3 weeks of rest left this knee weaker than the other for years.
I should have learnt then to take care of pain when it first manifests, but I was 10 years old. Instead, I learnt that if it’s anything serious, the pain will come back worse after I have discarded it.
And most of the time, biting through it combined with a little rest usually works. And if it doesn’t, I’m usually the only one to pay the price.
« Usually ». Well. I had to sit the day out yesterday, and we had 8 guests wanting to do a Try Dive. A fourth Divemaster would have been appreciated. Because I was unable to dive, the team had to divide the try divers in 2 groups, and do 2 rotations each.
It’s not the ear that hurt me most yesterday, although the lack of painkillers on the boat made itself sharply obvious. It’s the feeling that I’m letting the team down, and they have to handle double work because I’m out.
Try Dives can be really tough to monitor, because they tend to go up and down a lot, failing to equalise properly, or to maintain their buoyancy underwater. This very enthusiastic crew was no exception, and everybody’s ears were subjected to quite a strain. Twice.
And a third time that day, with 3 other Try Divers.
Helping out with equipment set up on the boat, rinsing and clearing out the gear was the least I could do that day, and it felt like not enough.
Not because the girls made me feel like I was letting them down (on the contrary), but because I felt like I could have avoided this situation by taking a day off earlier, when I first felt tired and strained.
I won’t be the only one paying the price anymore
I need to remember that I’m not the only one paying the price anymore. I may be paying the highest toll, but as long as I’ll be part of a team, it’s the collaterals I need to think of, not just my own stakes in the matter.
That lesson gets even more essential transposed to team captain, instead of just team member. Sure, I can be a captain with a right hand hook, even with a wooden leg and a glass eye.
But wouldn’t I be better at it if I kept all my parts, to the best of my ability? Doesn’t it make more sense to rest when I need to, instead of when I can’t handle it anymore?
Isn’t it easier to plan a day off, than to suffer through sick days, waiting for my body to be functional again?
I probably have an ear inflammation. AGAIN. I probably need to stay out of the water for a couple of days. AGAIN. Yet I barely have more than « a couple of days » left here, and 4 trials to complete, 2 of which underwater.
I need to accept 2 things about myself:
My mind is in far better shape than my body. I’m faster, smoother, sharper in my mind than with my body.
My mind can always negotiate a little extra energy, I can always persuade myself that « I’m OK ». I waited 18 hours with 2 broken wrists last year, before asking to go to a hospital. I should have known right away that this kind of pain meant that something WAS wrong. But no matter what my mind tells me, my body will always have the last word.
There really is no point in being a healthy, exercising, non-drinking vegan, if I keep ignoring the earliest signs of something going wrong.
I’m not talking about making a fuss every time I have an itch, I just need to stop ignoring the small signals my body sends me.
It’s like clicking « later » on the important updates pop ups on your computer: sooner or later, the thing shuts down and you have to wait out the installation of the 12 657 updates you neglected to download earlier.
I might have to leave this place without completing my Divemaster. It’s a dire price to pay for this lesson, but again, it’s one I really should have learnt by now. And one I really cannot afford to suffer through again.
…Worst case scenario, though: I’ll have to come back here to complete all of my trials.
— Saturday, August 27th
#CheatDay because, once again, I was too tired to be bothered to open up my computer.