Saturday, January 20, 2018

Defying Gravity

December 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Aspire to Inspire, Just me

Defying Gravity

Recently my friend Louise Edington began a series of articles in her blog, Lou Loves Learning challenging herself and others  to face their fears and learn new and exciting things. Lou’s included: skiing and riding zip lines, she called it Overcoming Fear of Flying, these articles have been joyous pieces that showed the passion of the woman and this is my response to her challenge.

As I faced the burden of a neighbors death and reviewed Lou’s article I was reminded of how close I came and the milestones I’ve overcome.  I’ve fought back from losing both hip joints in my early thirties after high dose medication administered while I was pregnant damaged my joints.  I’ve progressed through: getting out of a wheelchair, walking without crutches, walking without a limp, being able to climb the stairs leg over leg instead of putting both feet on each step, all of which I was told wouldn’t happen.


While some of my progress has represented fear of breaking myself, or set backs, other aspects have included a fear of never being ‘alive’ again and never getting to play with my kids.

I returned to shooting, including teaching women to shoot and organized 3 women’s high power rifle teams competing at 200, 300 and 600 yard matches  in 3 positions: prone (lying), seated and off-hand (standing). This is no mean feat for someone learning to stand without aid especially while holding an AR-15 (M-16).


While there are things that I should not attempt again, sadly including:  my beloved rock climbing, skiing and roller blading  due to the chance of dislocating replacement joints.  I have moved beyond the limitations,  I’ve been able to belay my kids and their friends while I taught them to climb. This was particularly gratifying since it’s hard to compete for kudos when their Dad is a Fighter Pilot. As I mentioned in another article I even managed to practice and coach volleyball with them – which left me in the realm of cool mom!


My latest intrepid adventure has been down to the girls again (this wasn’t the growth I expected from raising kids). The girls are into horse riding but, despite a daredevil history – horses have always filled me with abject panic. I never wanted to ride especially after almost being trampled by a runaway horse at age 10, and now with 2 replacement hips  it probably wouldn’t be the best idea.   Since I always been passionate about J & K experiencing  everything they could and since we live in a part of the Wild West that includes horses, I signed them up for cowboy camp years ago and it took! There passion has progressed way beyond those beginnings into several times per week go figure teenage girls and horses! What I failed to grasp though, was that unlike in the UK I can’t pick them up in the stable yard. In true teen obsessive compulsive, total absorption manner the girls muck out, tack and groom which means in order to retrieve them that puts me right in the middle of a herd. Of course, since these are MY girls and we never do things by half measures they do English riding and dressage, so I don’t have to contend with ponies or quarter horses but 16 and 17 hand thoroughbreds. As a matter of etiquette I am required to meet, greet and mingle with these huge creatures, “hey Mum, this is Libby, Navarre, Aladdin, Gio, Marco, Hartman and Owen”, whose every step has me thinking he’s going to knock me over, or step on me.

Recently while lending a hand at feeding time this included being chased across the paddock in the dark by a gelding who knew I had a bucket of oats!  But amazingly I didn’t panic, instead I managed to speed up and fend him off, so while I’m still wary~ I’m not frightened anymore.

I’m learning that I am ‘in charge’,  and when I suddenly find a large head resting on my shoulder, fluffy cheek pressing against mine, or turn to find 2 or 3 of these guys following me like giant puppies I actually smile.  It’s quite liberating, empowering and oddly comforting.  (Note: they’re still not bringing one home though).


As I wrote yesterday in Live For Today I am committed to facing my fears and I am making progress (let’s just not mention anything about giant spiders ok!), just one more step on the path to reinvention and self actualization.

What are you doing to face yours?



19 Responses to “Defying Gravity”
  1. Fiona Stolze says:

    I loved reading this Laine. What an inspiring and amazing gal you are! Thanks for holding this up and reminding me to continue to take the challenges that present themselves. There really is nothing at all in life that can hold us back, if we put our minds to it. I am fully committed to doing that and perhaps I might blog about my latest hurdles taken with success. :-)

    Fiona Stolze

  2. Laine-

    Wow- very impressive, both the growth and the mastering of fear. I love the progression of titles in the post and somehow do not see you just sitting around. Kudos!

    Candace Davenport ~ Little Books with a Big Message

  3. Laine D. says:

    Thank you Candace!

    I spent a year in hospital not really able to move and when I was finally released with a 3 month old preemie baby I was told I should plan on being sedentary. With a husband who disengaged because of my ‘illness’, it was me and the girls against the world so…. I’ve been lucky to be encouraged along the way and that is why I set up “thoughts” as my pay it forward.

    The fact that you are reading what I say means a lot!
    Laine D.

  4. Laine D. says:

    Thank you Fiona – I worried that it was too much “I” but was told and hoped that by sharing my story I might help others.

    I know the future is bright …for both of us, challenges are just the bait to get us over next problem.

    I’ll look forward to reading your ‘defying gravity’ story, don’t forget even the challenges we don’t crack this time are just a rehearsal.

    Laine D.

  5. Laine D. says:

    Why Thank you Ruby 😀

    I’m looking forward to getting to know you better.

    Laine D.

  6. Good for you Laine! It’s amazing how our fears disappear when we confront them. I’m with you though – no horses for us (except the ones our friend has in our paddock…..but he does all the work)
    Thanks so much for the shout out. Couldn’t believe it when I woke up to all the pings….
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fears and Frontiers Over Fifty

  7. Laine D. says:

    LOL ! its only a small step Lou but they are ruddy big animals making the steps! Seriously though just the added confidence from knowing you can handle yourself, makes you feel like you can fly.

    “So if you care to find me
    Look to the Western sky!
    As someone told me lately
    Everyone deserves the chance to fly”

    To be honest I’m getting very fond of a couple of them and they are so beautiful! Libby is a daughter of Secretariat! Hartman’s bottom lip quivers like Mr Ed and Marco butts you in the back if you aren’t paying attention to him.

    You have the beauty of horses but none of the work, clever girl.

    You’re welcome! ‘pings’ (thanks) for the challenge.

    Laine D.

  8. Wow… Fantastic post, Laine! You are such an inspiring woman! No wonder you & Louise have such a kinship.

    I just had this “facing fear” conversation with my orthopedic surgeon today. It’s been a tough 15 months with rotator cuff surgery last fall followed by back issues this summer (most likely due to a spectacular fall skiing in February). I’ve had a back “procedure” recently plus intense physical therapy the past few months — missing out on my beloved tennis and, now, skiing. The conversation today was about me getting back to my sports. The deal is, I’ll either be fine and get stronger, or my back will give out and then we’ll have to go to the last resort which is fusing my spine. So, it’s scary… I miss my sports Terribly, but I’m afraid…

    Thanks for this post, Laine. Extremely timely for what I’m dealing with right now. I need to face my fear and deal with the consequences.

  9. Laine D says:

    Thank you Heidi,

    I wish I had known what you have been going through as I might have been able to give some support. It is so difficult when you have been active to consider even the possibility that you will not be able to do what you love again, or not do it at the same level.

    I had this conversation with my friend Alan who went through shoulder surgery and then was distressed that he wasn’t making progress. I had to remind him that pre op he couldn’t lie down to sleep and now 12 months later he was complaining that he couldn’t do pushups. Maybe its an opportunity for you to play with your other hand for a while – or maybe you have to play badminton instead (less impact).

    My recovery has taken a long looooonnnnngggg time with two dislocations along the way – the only good thing about dislocating your hip is being manhandled by beautiful firemen! Still, even when they left a handprint on my bum I don’t think the exchange was worthwhile – its not like the Cinderella story where if I found the guy who fit the hand print I got to keep him!!!

    Missing a couple of seasons and giving yourself more time to improve slowly makes more sense, if you can be patient or make the Docs wait if they are pressing you. Physical therapy is great but doesn’t emulate the sport you loved, rather doing general conditioning and Spinal fusion is a big deal. Who knows maybe your fame is growing so quickly now because its time to slow down for a while and concentrate on that, giving your shoulder and back a chance to rehab?

    My bones took a long time to heal after the 2nd surgery. The metal bar wouldn’t knit into my bone basically because I had to get up and walk – too soon, because my husband walked out on us, leaving me with a 3 year old and 6 month old in a two story house. You can’t make babies wait because you can only slide up the stairs on your bottom carrying one at a time.

    If I have learned anything it is that when faced with the impossible you just have to take things slower ~ remember how you eat an elephant…. one bite at a time.

    Give me a call and lets talk, maybe I can help….

    Laine D.

  10. You certainly have been through a lot, Laine! and with little people to attend to… like I said, you are an inspiration!

    I’ve had the thought this year that maybe the universe is conspiring to slow me down, maybe so I can concentrate on my writing. It’s a better thought than I’m just getting old and falling apart :)

  11. Laine D. says:

    😀 Or just giving you something else to do while your body repairs itself! The house may need a rehab but the attic is amazing 😀

  12. Wow, Laine! What a remarkable attitude you have. So many people would allow themselves to relegated to the victim role after going through what happened to you. It’s so inspiring to see someone quite literally pick themselves up, adjust and move forward with their life dreams and goals.

    You are a role model for sure!

    Sharon Hiebing
    Follow Your Dream Compass

  13. Great post, you crack me up! And, you’ve accomplished far more daring stunts that many moms without any injuries. I also have had serious injuries in the past, so I know what it is like to face limitations in one arena and then find new arenas in which you can soar…
    Brandy Mychals
    Split Second Perceptions

  14. Allison says:

    Laine. You take my breath away.
    Your question sits with me… what are you doing to face your fears?
    I believe that what you can’t face owns you, but that’s easier to acknowledge than to act on!

    I realize as I think about this and ponder what you’ve written that I am more likely to face down my intangible fears than my physical ones… like letting people know what I REALLY think, or doing what I have to in order to fulfill the enormous mission I’ve discovered for myself.

    I recently decided that it’s likely I was a stunt person in a former life and died because I wasn’t a GOOD stunt person… I credit 35 years of Feldenkrais work to my still being up and on my feet despite the many truly idiotic things I’ve done to myself!

    But there’s often a voice in my head (my mother’s!) that keeps me from taking on the physical fears… I stopped skiing after getting thoroughly terrified, and I my favorite activities involve a fair amount of being in one place — reading, spinning, weaving, knitting…

    I would love to connect with you about some of the things you have given up on — like rock climbing — because I wonder if there’s a way to make it safe for you… at least maybe in a controlled setting like a a climbing gym.

    Thanks for putting something so interesting into that pot on my back burner…

  15. Laine D. says:

    I think its a touch of briar rose in the blood, I’m just too stubborn to give up. Not saying that I haven’t had my very dark days but my tendency when someone says I can’t is to say “watch me”! I also had a huge impetus to be mobile – my daughters, we literally learned to walk at the same time. Although they were amazing in dealing with what I couldn’t quite manage yet…, and my lack stamina, their greatest game was to hide from me when we went to the store…. 4 & 2 year olds disappear really well and very easily.

    I’m not about role model, but I think I have a calling to encourage those who have faltered or lost their way due to a crisis in their lives.

    There are many ways to reach your goals : go over it, under it, round it or through it and you’ll get to where you are meant to be 😀

    Thanks for your nice words
    Laine D

  16. Laine D. says:

    I was a bit of a wild woman, now I’m just looking for other challenges … although if someone comes up with a bone graft that will replace the joints I’d be there in a heartbeat.

    Its like that old poem..

    There’s a race of men who don’t fit in,
    A race that can’t sit still
    So they break the hearts of kith and kin
    and roam the world at will…

    The good thing about coming to motherhood late is you don’t have a need to keep safe for someone else and can do the crazy things. Now I’m a little more conservative but only a little… now I’m out there pushing my girls to try things…. limitation is first and foremost in your mind.

    Laine D.

  17. Laine D. says:

    Thank you Allison!

    We are our own worst enemy and best advocate but truthfully is it better to fail or simply not do something.

    Pushing yourself and pushing the envelope physically and mentally is what keeps us alive. I think I have never felt more alive than when I nearly wasn’t. My first trip skiing I got lost in a white out and ended up skiing down a iced black run called Coire na Kist (the gun barrel), can’t say I did it well but I got down 😀

    The little voice in my head would always be saying: can you do it, no, not a good idea, well lets take a look, no… oh well then that work out pretty well! (the latter portion with me in free fall) 😀

    It’s not that I can’t climb now, more that I shouldn’t since I am one who can’t settle for less and more means a dislocated hip or putting other people in danger. Always willing to listen to new ideas though

    I looking forward to your article on pushing your boundaries.
    Laine D

  18. Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.

    – Daniel

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!