So if you've followed me, you know I have a bad back.
I was talking to someone today... and I just had one of those "this is really obvious" realizations: that had I listened to the doctors who wanted me to get a 3-level spinal fusion (or at the very least a few discectomies) I might not have the body I have today. I do have days when my back hurts, but I know how to deal with it (ice, rest, avoiding torque/weights). My limitations are genuine medical concerns, but they're no longer mental.
Two years ago, I was scared and ashamed that my weight had caused it (it was a combination of genes and a trauma from HS). I thought that my weight would balloon up as a combination of the physical inability to exercise and the depression that came with the injuries. I was scared of never being able to walk again. I was angry that it hurt to lie in my bed or even sit.
It wasn't pretty, nor was it easy, but I turned toward those fears and used them to make my decision. I knew I wanted to go down swinging. I'm so glad I didn't have the surgeries. I'm thankful that I trusted my instincts.
Every step since then is a blessing, whether I'm hunched over or standing tall.
As my inspiration, I also remembered a few lines from this poem by Claude McKay. While not quite the race riots of 1919, it reminded me that if my future was already determined and out of my hands (every doctor said that at some point my spine will require surgical intervention) that I would fight for myself and my spine for every second up until they put me under.
If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!