Monday, October 21, 2013
There are two pivotal memories from when I contracted paralytic polio that fueled what Tara Brach would call my trance of unworthiness. One was when my mother was unable to care for me after I contracted paralytic polio and the other was trying to keep up with my brother and friends when I was in a full leg brace.
These emotional wounds are now healing as I move out of the physical posture from paralytic polio and trauma. Those unhealed wounds took me on many interesting roads during my 7 year healing odyssey as I tried to "fit in" and prove myself as a worthy person.
I had it backwards though. This morning I had this epiphany of what an amazing person I am and how I did not "deserve" what happened to me. My father would often say to me, "You are going to get what you deserve," followed by beatings. And those innocent people at the finish line of the Boston Marathon did not deserve what happened to them.
And yet....life happens ... and horrible things happen.
My friend Krista, a survivor of sexual assault writes a beautiful blog about her healing journey, "The Bady Partnership." She had several posts about October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. When I saw her first post with the alarming statistics about the high incidence of Domestic Violence, I wanted to just hit the delete button. It's hard to acknowledge that I am a survivor of Domestic Violence - 9 years of domestic violence that left many wounds that continue to need healing.
But after all - this IS a message of healing, hope and possibility....
Last week during our Spaulding Aquatics Therapy class, we were talking about the lovely community in the class. Diana Fischer, DPT who teaches the class said she thoroughly enjoys teaching us because we are all so dedicated and committed to finding our strength. Everyone in the class has a story as we often say and as newcomers join us, we exchange our stories. Yet ultimately the stories don't matter. No one is judged. There is no competition. There is celebration when something clicks and new movements happen. Everyone works at their own level. We support each other as though we are family.
I am a member of the running community again. There is no more endurance running or trash talking PR's. There is a feeling of, "I am out here and I am moving and I belong among this very special community."
One of my new friends, Melissa Gleaton who I met yesterday during our Feaster Five training run posted this quote on her Facebook page today:
"It's wrong to believe that you need a certain physical body type to run. All body types can run. The people who succeed are not the ones who have the longest legs or the leanest torsos. The champions are the one who understand how to harness the power of the brain. Determination. Discipline. Organization. Time management. Friendship-making. These skills are what it takes to succeed in running. You have to want it, you have to plan for it, you have to fit it into a busy day, you have to be mentally tough, you have to use others to help you. The hard part isn't getting your body in shape. The hard part is getting your mind in shape." - Amby Burfoot
I feel so fortunate and blessed that I am getting my body and mind and heart and Spirit in shape as I turn the corner towards my 60th birthday. I finally feel as though I am fitting in my own skin and am fitting into the world. What a fantastic voyage and journey this has been!
From A Celebration of Life -- my books of poetry are available on Amazon
This is the first poem I wrote after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome in the cold, dark winter of 2007 as I emerged from the dark night of my soul. The unconscious was preparing the way for me to run the Boston Marathon
Running the Race - Feb, 2007
Early summer 1959 my kindergarten year
everyone around me filled with nervous fear
Despite the Salk vaccine hope polio would disappear
the polio virus crept right up and knocked me in the rear.
Dancing all around the gym feeling free just like a bird
I dropped to the ground just like a stone and no one said a word.
The pain it was so searing-the diagnosis even worse
"It's polio" the doctor said...he was abrupt and terse.
Called one of the 'lucky ones' I had a 'mild case'
but with the other athletes I could never keep their pace.
Miss Holly physical therapist, curly hair and a warm, broad smile
it tempered the pain of being apart - to walk I'd take awhile.
I always wore those 'special' shoes the kids they poked and teased
with no support and much abuse with childhood I wasn't pleased.
But put nose to the grindstone and learned all that I could
I couldn't kick a ball but my grades were always good.
Years went by and no more thought to polio did I give
I accepted the limp and everything else and decided my life I would live.
But symptoms of weakness and muscle pain did grow
I kept a stoic face hoping no one else would know.
Life no longer was my own I struggled through each day
suffered in silence, isolated from friends-trying to keep depression at bay.
And with the grace of glorious God my world it opened wide
I discovered there was a Post Polio team and they were on my side.
Using wheelchair to travel, set limits on what I could do,
resulted in joy to realize I could live life anew.
Celebrated my body- creaks, groans and need for a brace
while in my mind I focused on winning a 10K race.
Sought out paths for healing and my spirit flew free
for the first time in life, I could truly be me.
The chains are gone and possibilities abound
I'm a tree with my roots planted firmly in ground.
I'm now off the sidelines, no need to sit and whine
so much gratitude fills my heart and love and beauty shine.
After all these years I can join the loving human race
I exceed all expectations and now I set the pace.