I’m not a fan of digging into my past. But if going back to look at the lessons learned is done to prevail tragedy and share in the hopes that others might be able to offset such hardships or get there faster … I’m all in. So when I was asked by our team to write about my “transformation” I was excited to do so hoping that it might help change someones life for the better.
When I began my yoga journey in 2003 I was, shall we say “a hot mess”. I was a bartender that tried doing the college thing but changed her major 5 times. After dropping out the day of the final exam for Interior Design saying “it just wasn’t for me”, I gave up thinking I was destined to be in the service industry and a slave to the dog-eat-dog lifestyle of the night owl bartender. Just like my mother. I drank A LOT, did drugs A LOT, and had serious mental issues from it all. Ive battled eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia then obesity. I hated myself, thought life was a fight, and that everyone in it was shady. I lived with a dark cloud over my head for about 7 years of my life and it was progressively getting worse.
Then the day came that saved my life – the day I tore apart my knee. I was born with hypo plastic patella (under developed knee caps). My left knee was the REALLY bad one. By the time I was 8 my knee would “pop” in and out. They called it a “floating knee”. We tried it all, braces, weight lifting to strengthen the surrounding muscles, special shoes … Nothing really helped. So as I grew older, taller, and gained weight it eventually gave out. All the tendons and ligaments had been worn down, as well as the knee cap itself from the scraping the floating knee caused. By the time it was injured it was the size of a small grape.
The day it happened, I was doing an “off the books” job at a local restaurant. I was trying to carry a cooler of frozen fish and ice and took one wrong step and boom … my knee blew apart. Something I’ve left out of the story in the past because of it being to harsh, but for the purpose of this blog it’s important not to leave out, when the injury happened I was high on cocaine from an all nighter with the owner of the bar. I think this shows you what kind of state I was in. My patella went halfway up my thigh and my quadricep muscle tore off the bone. I had no health insurance and as I mentioned, this job was an under the table job. When I got to the hospital they took an x-ray and saw no knee cap. They were dumbfounded, gave me a pain medication, and referred me see a specialist. Since I had no health insurance I couldn’t see a specialist. I called my dad to help. He recommended I wait till Jan1 and get an insurance with a high deductible that would take me and be sure I only had to pay the deductible once. And so that’s what I did … wait 3 months with a knee cap up my leg and severed quad muscle. In the meantime, I was in and out of the ER getting pain meds to survive. It was the most traumatic time in my life. I was already depressed and now I couldn’t move, was taking pain meds that made me even more depressed (and drinking on top of that), and furious at my family for not rescuing me. I had developed lots of physical symptoms, but even more, emotional scaring. During this time I gained ALOT of weight and continued to hate life more and more.
Fast forward 3 months to January 1st when I FINALLY get the surgery … its not done right but I don’t know it.
Now to the surgeons defense, and the reason why I never went after him legally (besides that’s not the kind of person I am), he did not know the injury occurred three months prior. I told him it just happened because I couldn’t afford to pay the deductible twice. I’d already drained my bank accounts to cover hospital bills and survive without work for three months. Even sold one of my cars. You see, I have always been a hard worker. I had actually saved a lot of money for a 20 year old. I had a three bedroom house, Mazda Miata, Ford Ranger Truck and money in the bank … then lost it all and ruined my credit (which I am happy to say I now fixed and have incredible credit). This experience helped me understand that happiness doesn’t lie in material goods and that anything can come and go at anytime. I had a ton of scar tissue built up from the knee injury sitting for so long and the surgeon was also trying to mimic my other knee (which is also not a normal knee). A surgery for which he was a master at and he expected to be 1 hour ended up being 3. The look on his face when visiting my recovery room was not happy. And when I went for my follow up he lied and said everything was healing just fine. He wanted to never see me again. I was just grateful he wasn’t reporting me to my insurance. I definitely inquired some bad karma. Years later, after doing yoga and getting in better mental and physical health, I saw another specialist who took an MRI. We found that the quad wasn’t put back close enough to the knee so my leg doesn’t get completely straight in an forward extension.
Now its 2003 and I am sitting in my kitchen crying because I tried my elliptical and couldn’t do it. Then a work out video. Couldn’t do it. Feeling frustrated I prayed for something. I prayed that I could find my way. And a voice in my head said “I heard yoga was good for rehabilitation.” What? There wasn’t yoga on TV, billboards or magazines at the time. And when I looked in the phone book there were only 3 in all of Broward County. And two were out of private houses. So where an idea of yoga in my head could have come from I only have one answer “Divine Intervention”. I chose The Yoga College of India (as it was called back then). It took me three tries to actually GET THERE, but once I did I found my purpose. I didn’t know it at the time, but I found what was meant for me on this journey. Jimmy Barkan asked me when I finished the class (I actually got through a whole class!?), “Are you ready to change your life?” Oh boy, was I.
So thats my story on how I got to be a size 17 and into my first yoga class. And that was the short story .
I lost weight fast. Today I am actually less than half of what I was then. Not that size matters most – but a size 4. As I shed a whole person in weight, I also shed an old version of me and a new Kelly Green was born. This path has led me to work hard on the inner me and now the outer me feels stronger than ever. Every year just keeps getting better. I found the love of my life, had a gorgeous baby girl, and am rocking the healthiest body I’ve had yet. Only better times ahead.
Over the past 17 years I have relearned how to walk, bend, dance, workout, and do some of the most incredible yoga positions I never could have imaged, or many people for that matter could imagine performing. There a lot of things I miss that I can’t do like riding a bike too long, roller skating, and dancing with heels on LOL. But I’m happy to be alive, I cherish the lessons I’ve learned, and the path it lead me to. I found my purpose through my struggle. I am a miracle.
As a Yoga Healer, I get to see these transformations happen every day. Some are small steps towards big change. Some are incredible stories of battling incurable diseases, broken hearts, mental disease, and prevailing. No matter what you are going through, know this: you are a miracle of life that has a purpose in all of this. If you need help in any area of your life step on your mat. JUST GET THERE. And trust that the magic will happen. YOU will find your way.