A few weeks ago, I wrote the following paragraph for the blog, but decided to edit it out for the sake of clarity:
My journey at Solcana thus far has had it’s peaks and valleys, but in classic Midwestern style, it’s better described as a never-ending expanse of rolling hills. Other than breaking my wrist a couple of years ago, I haven’t incurred any injuries or major setbacks.
I basically was the person in a scary movie saying, I’ll be right back. Because last Monday morning, out of nowhere, I couldn’t put any weight on my left foot.
Well, it wasn’t technically out of nowhere. I was performing Good Morning Baltimore in drag on Sunday night, when I decided to jump off the stage. In heels. As a 230-pound man. At first, it was only a little twinge of pain. But as the night progressed, it became more and more insufferable. I couldn’t sleep, and only took a break from laying down to sit up and cry.
All I could think about was how my most recent up-swing in running was all for not. I wouldn’t be able to go back to the gym like I’ve been promising myself. I broke my foot and wouldn’t be able to workout for at least another month — or at least so I thought.
A little background: when I broke my wrist, I didn’t know it. And I kept lifting. For over two months.
The injury alone was a big enough setback to compromise all the momentum that I had been working for in the gym, during my first 9 months. I was making huge strides in personal goals and fitness. And it all just suddenly stopped. Part of me knows that moments like this are par for the course, as a gay withering away in his late 20s, with brittle bones and slowing metabolism. But the other part of me can’t let it go. For the longest time, I’d wonder where I would be if it never happened.
Needless to say, another injury like this was enough to set me down an emotional rabbit-hole.
My mother picked me up on Monday morning from my boyfriend’s place. On the way to the orthopedist urgent care in Eagan, we swung by the Taco Bell drive-thru — the ultimate comfort food. And though I was in excruciating pain, I loved getting wheeled through the automatic sliding glass doors, reciting lines from Mommy Dearest, despite the fact that I’ve never seen the movie.
Well, there’s no discernible break in your foot. But we’ll treat it symptomatically.
The doctor wasn’t necessarily coming for me, but he might as well called me dramatic, right in front of my mother. Which I am. But I was so convinced that something was fractured that I wasn’t sure what to make of his diagnosis. Yes, I was happy that it wasn’t a month-long boot sentence. But still, I was nervous and uncertain for the future.
And so, for the next week and a half, I wore my orthopedic footwear, and did my best injured drag on the streets of Minneapolis.
But the fact remained, I hadn’t been to the gym in weeks. And I was becoming restless.
I texted Hannah on Wednesday night, to make sure that she would be there for open gym the next afternoon. Sure, my behavior with friends verges on co-dependent. But in this case, I wanted her guidance on movements because we were experiencing a sisterhood of the traveling boot.
We decided some bench press, shoulder press and back squatting to a high box would be best. Still, I was nervous. What if it hurt? What if this was the moment that I realized I can’t come to the gym again?
I set up the bar on the rack, dipped my shoulders under it and took a big breath in. I pushed play on my phone and Broadway started blaring from my headphones. And that’s when I realized: what if I’m not the one working out today? What if, instead of Spencer, it’s my drag persona? She is fierce and unapologetic, and not afraid to jump of the stage even though she hasn’t stretched.
And so, I let her take over for an hour or so and lip-synced to myself. Sure, I didn’t make any PRs. But I’d like to think, attitude-wise, it was a personal best. I left through the garage door, under the rainbow flag, hobbling out.
Waiting for the bus, I didn’t feel any shame. I didn’t have any hypotheticals about if I wasn’t injured. I just sat there at the stop, accepting the reality of my situation, and made a plan for the next number that I’ll perform at the gym.