One and two and three and four and get them sit-ups right and tuck your tummy tight, said the Kanye song that played through my ear phone speakers as I got into position to do my next work out at the gym. Many people have told me that I don’t need to work out because I’m a petite woman, however working out isn’t about losing weight it’s about having the proper energy throughout my day to successfully accomplish my tasks. Working out gives me the extra boost of energy I need. I had no idea how this one particular day of going to the gym would change my life. It was a regular day, the sky was blue and all that. I was in a good mood and doing my own personal workout, until this girl came up beside me and started doing squats, but not at a normal pace. She was going pretty fast, so I looked at her and I said to myself, “I can do that,” so I proceeded to do the same.
In the past I dated guys who talked about my size, I was always ok with my size but over time it started to bother me. Many guys said I wasn’t thick enough. I have a small frame, but I’ve always had confidence and never second-guessed myself. When they told me this, in my mind I felt that they were the ones with the problem because I was perfectly okay with myself. Underneath all the self-confidence I still managed to allow some of those negative remarks to creep in.
Before I knew it, I was pushing myself a little too hard to be exactly what society deems as attractive. The extra stress from magazines, social media and even from past relationships sometimes made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. I never thought I would fall under this pressure but I did and as a result of pushing myself too hard, something happened that day at the gym. It was the beginning of something I never knew I would experience.
The next morning, when I got up to get dressed my knee was hurting badly. I remembered hearing my knee pop in the gym but I didn’t think twice about it. I didn’t feel anything so I thought it was a regular pop, like when you crack your fingers. I wrapped my knee, and used ointment and creams. Days and weeks passed before I decided to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic doctor. The chronic pain I was having was so bad that it made it difficult to walk. After waiting to hear the results, the orthopedic looked at the x-rays and MRI and said that I had not broken or torn a ligament. I was relieved mentally however I was still physically in pain, as a result the doctor scheduled me to do physical therapy.
Physical therapy brought tears to my eyes, the therapist made me do exercises that really hurt. She told me to also continue exercising on my own like normal and I did exactly what I was told, but nothing seemed to help. The weeks passed and I continued to deal with the unbearable pain, it felt as though the more I worked out the worse the pain became. During this time in my life I was taking classes online to obtain a Masters Degree and working part time. My flexible schedule helped out a great deal. On my job I was on call so I was able to accept the jobs that I wanted for each week. This helped a lot because it became harder to stand on my feet.
When you aren’t able to do what you normally are used to doing such as walking, which is something that we mostly take for granted it can become depressing. This took away from the activities I was able to do and as a result I spent more time than I wanted at home. There was nothing that anyone could do to help. I eventually finished my second cycle of physical therapy and made up my mind that I wouldn’t go back since it wasn’t helping. I also promised myself that I wouldn’t get another hydrocortisone shot in my knee after my second one and no results. The anti-inflammatory pills for my knee inflammation weren’t helping and I felt as though my life was coming to an end.
Depression slowly started to infiltrate my spirit. When I told others about my situation they said I would probably have knee problems for the rest of my life. Some people said I had arthritis and others expressed their sympathy for me, of course I didn't open up my mind to any possibilities other than me being healed. Here I was 26-years-old at the time and I could barely walk. There was only one person who I knew could fix my situation and that person was God, so I called on him and prayed to him every day. The doctor told me that he didn’t know what to tell me and that my situation was one of the biggest mysteries of the year because everything showed up normal from the tests, however I was still in chronic pain. I was grateful that my tests came back normal yet a little sad about the pain I had to endure.
I felt myself going deeper into depression and then I had to tell myself, “Trish, you’re not this perfect person who will always be positive, sometimes life will knock you down and when this happens, it’s perfectly normal to be upset as long as you don’t stay down and upset for too long.” I’ve always been this strong role-model to other women and young girls but this was one of the times when I didn’t feel like that strong woman anymore. Prayer was what kept me.
Months and days passed and I continued pushing through the pain, when it eased up I was able to go to work however it was still very painful. There were many times I cried and couldn’t make sense of why I was going through this situation. Then I realized that God allows things to happen to us to strengthen our faith and build our patience. This was also a reminder not to compete with anyone, when getting into shape, and to be aware of the impact of "body shaming," because it's a relevant issue. We live during a time that more pressure is placed on women to look a certain way in order to be attractive. It's okay to look good, put on makeup and to workout, as long as you are doing it for the right reasons. Never allow another person's view to change the way you view yourself. Life is not a fairytale, people will say things that will test your self confidence, however you must remember that the one for you will love you for who you are and at the size you are.
I hope this is a blessing to someone.
I'm an East Carolina University alumna. I have experience in journalism, law, radio broadcasting, television production and teaching. My goal is to make a difference in the world through media and motivational speaking.