bumps, bruises, blood, burns, and broken bones
I never thought recovery would be like waking up one day and suddenly being able to walk…but honestly that’s exactly what happened.
With the support of this gorgeous boot, of course. I was so incredibly mobile!!! (slow, I’ll give you that for sure). I was back to feeling like my old self, just with a boot and the occasional crutch. I decked out my boot with a WVUM sticker. Got to rep the station. and the 3 oh 5.
A before and after comparison of right after injury to 8 weeks after. So grateful that everything is back in it’s place. Seriously the best before and after photoset I’ve ever seen.
Below is a flashback to little triathlete me. I’m in the back with the purple bikini. I remember that triathlon, good times – I did the swim portion of the race and then I was like “meh I’m about done”. Living by the “do whatever I want until someone tells me to stop” mentality since the early ’00s. Rad.
The Clinton Global Initiative conference was hosted at the University of Miami this year and I was part of the photo/video volunteer team! I photographed both days of the conference, ate free food, talked to interesting people who wanted to make social change, and did some serious walking, just me and my boot, no crutch to lean on! I also hosted two people who were part of the conference and that was an amazing experience. So inspiring and it was fun to share Miami/Coral Gables culture and lifestyle with them! (like Bagel Emporium…((see below, we were featured in the newspaper)))
Basically the Clinton Global Initiative funds young changemakers to carry out projects in 5 different sectors: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public
Health. Attending the conference are a few thousand university-age students from all over the United States and all over the world. Speakers included Bill, Chelsea, and Hillary Clinton, America Ferrera, and Nadya and Masha of Pussy Riot.
Here I am with TEAM 13 on the Clinton Initiative Day of Service, the day after the conference! (All the way on the right is Edita, a student from the University of Edinburgh, who I hosted for a few nights!). At the day of service, doors were painted, benches were built, and murals were created. We also hung out with and played with the kids of Liberty City. I still sometimes feel that maybe things like that don’t really make too much of an impact, but I think it still sends a good message and it was really great to connect with members of the Liberty City community.
Here I am, wearing and walking around in two shoes for the first time! There is a brace on my left ankle and it looks like a Nike swoosh sock on the other foot that I probably acquired per some person who doesn’t know how to do laundry correctly. You’ll also notice my comfortable and breatheable spandex shorts for those incredibly hot and humid SoFla days and a Canada thrift store tie dye tank top. And my smile says it all: Saying goodbye to the boot! Sure, I basically just got up and started walking, but it was by no means any sort of speed walk or any sort of walking that was getting me anywhere fast at all. It was kind of like a leisurely walk through mud kind of speed of walking. But walking nonetheless. Obviously I was stoked enough to take a selfie of it. It’s a big deal to be wearing two shoes.
I had been planning on a pretty regular/boring Spring Break, my plans included what I liked to call “aggressive physical therapy”. I guess you could say I did that. Started out with my first long bike ride (note the almond milk in my back pocket, and visible scar on the side of my ankle).
But the next thing was that I decided to go to Alabama. Because that’s where Megabus went. And because why not? And because Bob Dylan sings that song “stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again”. This quickly turned into “why don’t I just pop over to New Orleans while I’m in the area?”. Which, if you know me at all, doesn’t come as a surprise at all. So I set off on an adventure. A spring break that was originally just going to consist of sleeping and physical therapy turned into a ~900 mile (one way) adventure. TY based Megabus & Greyhound. The green pin is Miami (start location), pin #1 is Orlando, pin #2 is Mobile, Alabama and the red pin is final destination: New Orleans, LA! (ignore the time of 12 h 38 m, it takes WAY longer to get there by bus. but that’s part of the fun I suppose)
Here I am doing some urban hiking in Orlando. Urban hiking is one of my pasttimes, I actually urban hiked 21 miles in New York City over the course of the two days before I broke my ankle. (Urban hiking for those that don’t know is simply conquering large distances by foot in cities.)
Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again – Bob Dylan
The song that basically inspired the whole trip.
My first time at Waffle House. It was a beautiful thing. If you know me at all, you would know how much I appreciate the freedom of Walmart, a resource hub. Now I’ve been to Denny’s in the middle of the night plenty of times. There’s a special feeling that it gives you. You’re there eating crappy breakfasty diner food with a bunch of other people who also happen to be out at strange hours of the night and you share this mutual understanding of each other. But Waffle House, Waffle House multiplies that feeling by threefold and then goes on to deliver that Walmart experience as well. Like if Walmart was a restaraunt, it would be Waffle House. Incredible people watching, incredible fun, and incredibly cheap. Thank you Madison and Emily for taking me there.
Mobile also supplied me with steel-toed boots – wearing one boot allowed me to wear my walking boot without the uneven gait that I had before, and the steel-toed boots soon allowed me to transition to wearing two shoes!
Next stop — NOLA! New Orleans is awesome.
New Orleans re-bike liberated me ( i did about 35 miles on a bike one of the days I was there…what amazing transportation. and biking was nearly painless for me! Not like that high-impact walking). I also began to wear two shoes or walking and completely ditched the walking boot. I never wore my walking boot after New Orleans, I don’t think.
I biked, explored, went thrifting, ate good food, took photos, met people, and chillaxed in New Orleans. My favorite places were Magazine District and Frenchman street. There was some good people watching on Bourbon, but the spring break frat crew wasn’t really my scene. Frenchman was more my scene.
After New Orleans, I headed back to Miami for Calle Ocho festival where I would be producing a stage and photographing the bands and artists throughout the day. My bus ride back to Miami took a total of 24 hours and included countless stops at Greyhound stations throughout Alabama and Florida, one loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and shared convenience store food (and a whole lot of Arby’s) among the community we created on the back of that Greyhound bus. Here’s me having a much-needed fruit smoothie after all those hours of processed junk food.
I began physical therapy after spring break! Here’s the electro-therapy that I end each session with. It’s supposed to relax muscles and promote muscle growth. Feels weird and shocky, as you might expect. Not sure if it feels even weirder because I have metal throughout my ankle. I biked myself about 3 miles each way to physical therapy twice a week (slightly ironic I suppose, but also awesome because I would have had to do a warm up on a bike or elliptical when i got there anyway!).
The rest of March, I honestly just went back to normal life (just walking a little slower and every once and a while needing a ride around in a cart, like the one pictured below, after long days promoting at music festivals). ((thanks Geoff)) I did a promo at Ultra Music Festival for a company I work for, went to class, did some biking, went to the gym a bit, went to the beach, celebrated Miami Beach’s 100th Anniversary, went to Denny’s at weird hours of the morning, carried fronds, etc…life was getting back to normal.
Every day, I could feel my ankle getting a little stronger and my walk getting a little faster (although still strongly supported by my steel-toed boots). And EVERY DAY I still found myself incredibly stoked at my ability to walk and my ability be a functional human being. It seemed like the days of walking and traveling would never come….but lo and behold, I was living it!
[[check out some of my photos from CGIU featured here: featured here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cgiphotos/sets/72157651001164588/]]
[[photos from the Louder Side stage @ Calle Ocho are here: https://www.facebook.com/theloudersideofficial?fref=ts