Friday, October 3, 2014

I'm trading in my Scarlet letter for a race bib!

One week from today I pick up my bib for the Tufts 10K Health Plan for Women. Yes I ran a marathon and I've run Tufts twice before so what's the big deal for me? After my nephew's suicide in March of 2011, all the pain, shame and guilt that I was healing through my running came to the surface and stopped me dead in my tracks. I turned away from running and my loving running family, and to people who reinforced relationship patterns borne from the experiences of my childhood and adolescence. I even sought out a "treatment" modality through KMI Structural Integration that uses force to create change in my body to bring me out of the postures of my past.

I am not only a survivor of paralytic polio but of domestic violence. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Here is the opening to President Obama's proclamation:

Domestic violence affects every American. It harms our communities, weakens the foundation of our Nation, and hurts those we love most. It is an affront to our basic decency and humanity, and it must end. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we acknowledge the progress made in reducing these shameful crimes, embrace the basic human right to be free from violence and abuse, and recognize that more work remains until every individual is able to live free from fear.

During yesterday's treatment at Sollievo Massage and Bodywork, as my therapist worked on the scar tissue from violence, I felt my legs tremble with shame and terror. My energy couldn't flow because of neuromuscular confusion that resulted from the KMI Structural Integration. Through the power of healing touch and my therapist's compassion, and joining with my intention to heal, I realized the shame is no longer mine to bear. My posture and my body structure served and serves a very important purpose. My physiatrist and physical therapist worked for 8 years to ensure that I would not develop scoliosis and to help me walk again after paralysis. My therapist and I are now healing the emotional and physical wounds of the violence. Weekly treatments are nourishing my neuromuscular system, helping to reset my sympathetic nervous system and creating new neuromuscular memory through appropriate, skilled, feel good touch. We are able to undo what happened during KMI and put everything back where it belongs. I can feel my left leg is getting stronger. Weekly treatments combined with running and the healing waters of Aquatics Therapy at Spaulding Rehab are a winning combination in my marathon of healing.

Forgiving others was easier than finding a way to forgive myself. I carried the shame of incest and the terror of speaking my Truth in my bones; feeling guilt for my dad's suicide was reinforced by my family who blamed me for his suicide. My brother's cold rejecting anger at my nephew's suicide memorial service and in the months and weeks that followed once again brought me to my knees.

During this morning's meditation I realized that I no longer have to carry the physical and emotional wounds of domestic violence. Out of the mess of paralytic polio and so many untoward life events happening to me, is borne the beautiful woman I am today. All that matters is the amazing woman I am today. During my meditation I felt my nephew's presence. Last week at the Spectacle Island run my phone slipped out of my hand as I was picking it up from the bench on the ferry. When it went straight into the ocean I joked with my husband that Charlie now has an iPhone. My nephew jumped off of his fishing boat and drowned. But I felt the comfort of his presence and all that was good and right about him. We had a very special relationship that can now live freely on in my heart. He is at peace and made the only choice that was right for his soul at the time.

I forgive myself for the choices I made that were not healthy for me. I thought it was what I deserved. I realize that I was never to blame for anything that did happen to me and no longer have to carry that burden of the past. I take off the Scarlet letter. Next week at this time I'll be heading downtown to City Sports Boston to pick up my t shirt and bib. Where once there was a Scarlet letter of shame, I will proudly pin and wear my bib number as I prepare to take my start at the 38th annual running of the Tufts 10K on October 13th.

The first 7 years of my healing odyssey are chronicled in Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility available on Amazon. I donate 50% of royalty payments to The One Fund Boston to help survivors and their families who were affected by the tragic events of 4/15/13.

I'm working on my 2nd book, "Journey Well," due out later this year:

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