I was going to title this “Haters gonna hate,” but I was informed no one over the age of 15 uses that phrase, except Taylor Swift. Pfft.
I’ve been at this knee thing for five years now. Almost. It will be five years at the end of March. In the beginning, people in my life were all really positive and spent lots of time cheering me on. I had all the help I needed in the first weeks after the big surgery, and people would go out of their way to be encouraging. I had people asking after me, and I wondered how they even knew about my knee. I was always thankful to have such support, and it was difficult to be anything but positive when so many people surrounded me with optimism.
Then came the last year. Some people in my life, though very well meaning, became downers. I was struggling quite a bit last year, and some people thought the best approach was to begin telling me that maybe I just needed to accept the knee was as good as it was going to get. I understand they were trying to be helpful, and they didn’t want to see me hurt. Except I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel, and I didn’t take it so well. It pissed me off.
It also motivated me. I wanted to prove them wrong. I wasn’t ready to believe that I wouldn’t be able to do simple things (like sweep my floor or go up/down stairs) without eliciting pain. I also still didn’t want to believe that I wouldn’t compete again, but that was no longer as worrisome as not being able to live everyday without pain.
One of the naysayers was my primary OS. He told me in June that he didn’t think there was anything else to do for the knee and that I needed to consider that this was maybe as good as the knee was going to get. I appreciate that he’d run out of ideas and was being honest with me about that, but I took it as a challenge. And I proved him wrong over the course of the next six months. Even if I get no better from here on out, I’m definitely better than I was last June.
I’m not writing this to be all “in your face!” (I like my primary OS, and I certainly wouldn’t be here without all the good work he’s done.) I’m writing this for the folks who might be reading and who have their own naysayers. Don’t listen to your critics. Well, you can listen to them, but prove them wrong. Whatever is going on right now, it’s your journey. You can let people help guide you along the way, but it’s ultimately your decision how you move through life. Make your life about you and not about what other people think, especially when they’re loudly whispering in your ear that you can’t do something.