For as long as I can remember, people have made fun of my feet.
This is not to say that they’re grotesque —I just have big round bubbly toes, with abnormally small nails on them, and every time I get a pedicure I’m pretty sure all the pedicurists are secretly laughing at them. This never bothered me too much.
In fact, I’m happy I can make people smile, and have learned to freely admit that my feet are odd.
But just as this summer was getting started, I broke the fifth metatarsal in my right foot. It was a silly mistake with an anti-climactic story, but it sure did shake things up for me. I’m a yoga instructor, with a regular schedule of 15 classes a week. With my driving foot in a cast for six to eight weeks, there was no way I could get to my classes, so I was—in no uncertain terms—freaking out!
I was in a cast, on crutches, unable to work, at the very beginning of what turned out to be an excruciatingly hot summer.
I was overwhelmed.
I called my Mom crying, feeling hopeless. She calmly advised me on what to do about work, and assured me that although it seems awful now, there will certainly be some important lessons learned from this experience. I thanked her, and rolled my eyes.
During the first week or so I was looking at the bright side, as I worked on my (very modified) yoga practice, and got back to my painting and photography, which made me happy.
But by week three, I was borderline depressed, and had enough of not being able to do anything for myself. Hobbling up and down two flights of stairs to my apartment brought me to tears more than once, and even getting a glass of water was torturous while fumbling with crutches. Many nights I’d dream I was running, and wake up sad and disappointed that I was still injured. I became frustrated, upset, and angry.
About week four, my mom had planned to come over and bring me out to dinner.
When she arrived I told her I didn’t want to go. I just wanted to stay on the couch and sulk. But Mom wasn’t havin’ it. As she assured me I would feel better if I went out, I reluctantly put on a nice dress and some makeup as she dragged me out, bad mood and all.
As we were sitting at the table waiting for our food, I saw a couple in the distance approaching the restaurant, and said, “Oh look Ma, another person on crutches like me!” As they got closer, I saw that the man’s right leg had been amputated at the thigh. My heart sank, but I knew this was an important message. Here I was, feeling sorry for myself with an injury that would surely heal in six weeks, while this man would have to deal with his injury for the rest of his life.
Sometimes the universe shows you exactly what you need to see.
My attitude changed after that, and I saw things from a different perspective.
At week five, I got another X-ray, which showed my bone fusing back together. It’s amazing to see the body healing itself! My cast came off and I was given a boot that I was able to walk in.
As I approach week six, my foot is feeling really good.
I’ve watched it go from a purple swollen thing, to a frail little atrophied bird foot, to something that looks a lot like my old foot—a bulbous, big toed, tiny nailed Flintstone foot, that I will never take for granted again. From now on I will love my feet, knowing that they let me walk, run, drive, swim, dance, practice yoga as well as hundreds of other wonderful things!
But perhaps the biggest lesson learned was to count all my blessings—the overwhelming outpouring of well wishes from all my yogi friends and students; my dad, and my best friend who drove me everywhere whenever they had off from work; my boyfriend who piggy-backed me to and from the beach in 100 degree weather; and my mom and aunt who continuously brought me delicious food.
I realize how very fortunate I am to have such a wonderful network of family, and friends, and for my imperfectly perfect body and mind —and for one more really important lesson—knowing my mother is always right.
With deep bows of gratitude for all who helped me.
Kristen Trieger has been practicing yoga for over 14 years and received her first teacher training certification in 2003. In 2005, she completed her 200-hour certification through Vajra Yoga in SoHo, NYC. Kristen’s teaching style is intuitive, heartfelt, and alignment-based, with a focus on the needs of the class or individual client. Her often challenging classes are infused with a sense of lightness with a deep respect for sacred yoga teachings as well as practitioner’s limitations. She has worked extensively with professional athletes, including baseball players, swimmers, and surfers helping them to cultivate flexibility, strength, and focus. Kristen also works with a variety of age groups, including at-risk teen girls, and seniors. Working as an editorial assistant for Fit Yoga Magazine, Kristen has been the featured yogini in many editorials and has provided her own photography for the publication. She has taught many workshops and assisted on retreats over the years, including the popular Jamaica Me Om, at Round Hill, Jamaica. She also holds a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, NYC, and continues to pursue her art as well as her passion for yoga. She currently lives in Long Beach NY, and teaches in Long Island and NYC.
Editor: April Dawn Ricchuito
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