There is so much that happened that was significant between these two incidents, the dislocated Patella and this one. It is really difficult to brush over them as they were some of the hardest years, but they will have to wait for another time.
Jump in a time machine and fast forward from my knee dislocation at 12 years old and super rough pubescent years and start to put on the breaks when you get to my second year at University.
I was studying an Exercise Science Degree. I was working a few jobs as a swimming coach for a club and coaching school teams, a different sport each term. I was enjoying university and the what came along with it. Let's be honest, my body image was crap and I was doing everything I could in regards to exercise and nutrition to get to a place of self like, not even love. After years of battling Anorexia Nervosa my body had rebounded back to a heartbreaking 82kg.
I remember it was beginning of Semester 2, it was a cold, wintery morning and I had caught the train to North Sydney for Touch Football (yes, that was a subject). I was excited to play, I hadn't played formally before but had thrown a footy around a lot with my older brothers in the backyard.
Our lecturer had turned up and he was keen to get us warmed up and straight into a game. It had just turned 8am. It was still freezing, a little foggy and the grass covered in dew.
I remember running and feeling great, I was being active, I was keeping up. I had decent ball skills and my excessive weight at the time was not making me stand out.
I had the ball, I was running, I side stepped someone that was running towards me and BOOM!
I hit the ground.
My body had let me down, again!
The pain was intense and it was everywhere. Too scared to look down and see what was wrong, I screamed. My friends gathered around and then called for help. They did their best to keep my focus away from the pain, but I knew it was bad.
I had dislocated me knee and broken both bones in my forearm so badly that they were sticking out of my skin. The right side of my body was in a bad place.
I desperately tried to be brave, I desperately tried not to fall apart. As I lied on the ground with broken bones in my arm and a dislocated patella, I desperately tried to hide my belly that I feared people would be seeing.
As people scattered to call an ambulance and to call my brother who was working near by. I just wanted to disappear. The pain was excruciating and I was embarrassed. Who falls, dislocates their knee and breaks bones in their arm? Clearly the fat one!
The ambulance arrived and the humiliation continued. Due to the awkwardness of the injury and it all being on my right side it was difficult to get me into the ambulance.
They also needed an additional person to lift me.
I remember apologising for being so heavy.
When I arrived at the hospital, the drugs had kicked in but my knee was not, nor were the bones in my arm. My favourite Peter Alexander shirt at the time had been cut from me. The one that made me feel most comfortable. My pain was dissipating while my heart was still breaking.
My knee was out for a few hours that day, I went into surgery and my bones were put back together in my arm with some plates and pins. My skin was sown up in my forearm. I remember waking up being out of it, out of control and not really aware of what was going on. But praying that the surgeon had sucked out some of my fat was I was asleep.
No such luck.
Over the coming days, while being a guinea pig for student doctors, I lied in that bed, helpless. I couldn’t shower my self, dress myself and certainly didn’t want to feed myself. The harsh reality that I couldn’t do any exercise for the next couple of weeks was devastating. Maybe I could just stop eating again.
I soon realised that it wasn’t an option. I couldn’t go down that road again.
I got released from the hospital and started recovering at home. Within a few days, my brother was having his engagement party. What one earth was I going to wear? Now, not only was I fat, I had a leg brace on from my ankle to my thigh, a plaster cast on my arm and it was winter!
I remember the anguish of finding something to wear. I remember the torture I put my poor mother through. The tears, oh so many tears.
The night arrived and I was wearing a black pair of casual pants, a long sleeve shirt and a vest. Fancy, right? I felt so bad within myself that I didn’t even want to go to my own brothers engagement party. This should be an amazing night. I remember wanting to disappear, so ashamed of the way I looked, embarrassed for my family.
The long, arduous task of recovering from my injuries happened over time. Many more tears were shed, moments of complete frustration and the self loathing continued.
On the bright side, I was so completely honoured to be chosen as a bridesmaid for my brother and now sister in law. It was like a dream come true. Something I desperately wanted to do. Be involved in the behind the scenes of the weeding, get all dressed up in a gorgeous gown, get my make up done and go to a Hens night. But I didn’t want to do it the way I was. I had a few months to get myself in wedding tip top shape.
I jumped on the Jenny Craig ban wagon and hoped that I could have it together for the wedding. My sister in law was stunning, as well as tiny and so were her other bridesmaids. Then there was me. While I did loose some weight before the wedding. I did not look like the other girls. I remember feeling ashamed, disappointed in myself and thinking that their friends were going to laugh at the blimp in the bridesmaid dress.
I worried and worried that I was going to ruin their photos, maybe they could just cut me out of them, maybe I could just disappear when the photographer was around. I worried that they would regret asking me to be a bridesmaid, worried I was not pretty enough.
Now, I was 20 years old and still battling with my own body. Waking each morning, praying something would change.
My body had let me down.
Being able to reflect on these two incidents (trust me there is many more) brings up some fairly raw emotions, feels like they happened just yesterday. My mind and my body had a tortuous relationship, a bit like Cinderella and her evil step-mother.
One thing I do know.
It’s time to apologise.