Pity party pooper, that is. How good does it feel to finally be out of the pity party? I asked a friend of mine the same question just the other day, after she posted how she was finally happy, after 17 long months, just by changing her attitude.
For five long weeks, I saw myself in the likes of Frida Kahlo, Lieutenant Dan and Dr. House. In lots of pain, with a leg that doesn't work, embittered, jaded and unable to see any light at the end of the ever-lengthening tunnel. I was lugging myself around on crutches, and more recently, scooting up and down the stairs on my bum. Well, as of two days ago, I can use that bum leg. That has really helped to change my attitude about my leg, my health, my surroundings, and life in general. Instead of being pissed off about leaving South Africa earlier than I planned, I am now cherishing every moment I get to spend with my family, and the technology that allows me to talk to South Africa every day. Instead of missing my Northern Cape birds, desert landscape and heat, I am getting to know the North Carolina varieties and am happy for all the warm clothes my sister owns. I am no Pollyanna, but at least I am not Oscar the Grouch anymore.
Many people have commented that things happen for a reason. That's kind of a dumb platitude, but I tend to agree with it nonetheless. Or rather, I choose to agree with it. I'd like to think me breaking my leg has less to do with chance and more to do with the grand scheme of life. Perhaps karma caught up with me? Maybe there is a fabulous money making opportunity just kilometers away. Maybe my nephew was getting tired of Elmo and needed some Morrissey in his life? Who knows.
During my convalescence at the guest house in Pretoria, I met some amazing people; all fellow injured Peace Corps volunteers, but from other countries in Africa. There were a menagerie of injuries represented, from appendicitis to broken bones and even a mental meltdown. Between us all, we represented one whole person and could manage shopping, cooking, drinking and lots of talking. It was uplifting to be able to help other injured people, to hear their stories and even see some of their photos. When you realize you aren't the only person who has ever been hurt so far away from "home" and that "home" can be anywhere you make it, your pity part becomes less appealing.