My Hero's Journey

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21 years ago today my life made a shift, only it has taken me 20 years to realize it’s significance… In one moment I was walking out of the door of my home to ride uptown with a friend and the next moment I’m sitting in a wheelchair in front of a nurse’s station in a hospital, with my head hanging down and spit rolling out of my mouth… There hasn”t been one day since June of 1993 that I haven’t had that chapter of my life on my mind…

There is no light without dark, no happiness without grief, no improvement without error…
~ Roy Peng.

For so many years I never brought this piece of my life up to anyone. I speak to people today and I tell them how I hid this part of my life for many years. My thinking was that it was all over and my prideful attitude always said to me to hold my head up and forget. I was way too strong to have anyone feeling sorry for me…I was no different, just like all these other people…

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define it yourself.” ~ Harvey S. Firestone

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” ~Brene Brown

This was shame I felt, because I wanted to be the normal kid too. I didn’t enjoy going back to school and being behind my class because I had to spend so much time in a hospital… I didn’t enjoy walking with a horrible limp… I didn’t enjoy all those harsh emotions I always felt; I never understood it was a post traumatic syndrome… I hated that people saw me half dead in a hospital bed for two months of my life with a tracheotomy in my throat and tubes coming out of my chest… I hated people actually saw me sitting in a wheelchair unable to walk!! I absolutely HATED for so many years that my mom brought people to the ICU unit and let them see me like this… “Why did she do this?” has always been in my mind… I just wanted to forget and live a normal life…

“Where we are different is typically the place we want to hide or minimize (out of fear of people not understanding) but this place of uniqueness is often where we find our power.”

When I say it has taken me 20 years to realize this shift, I should be saying it has taken me 20 years to recognize the beauty of those days… The past few years I have had one hell of a ride with my emotions, my body and most of all, my mind. I can only describe this journey as a total hero’s journey back to June of 1993… Those years I spent as a child with all those emotions and questions have appeared in my mind almost daily… And in so many different forms it’s unbelievable….

“The usual hero adventure begins with someone from whom something has been taken, or who feels there is something lacking in the normal experience available or permitted to the members of society. The person then takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary, either to recover what has been lost or to discover some life-giving elixir. It’s usually a cycle, a coming and a returning.”
~ Joseph Campbell

The day I began recognizing this beauty was the day before my 35th birthday and looking at this memory now I cannot believe I never paid any attention to other things before… I had a photo shoot with a tennis wear company in Atlanta. I was stoked to be finally fulfilling a dream of mine. All I could think was OMG online casino I am going to be in these magazines modeling this kick ass tennis wear, I had no clue how my life was going to make another shift…

“Seek not abroad, turn back into thyself, for in the inner man dwells the truth.” — Jason Lee

I was at this shoot and the photographer received a call that he had to go pick up his son. I scooted up the road to a Starbucks and when he came back around to pick me back up I was more than ready to do this… Then it happened! I took a glance back in the back seat of that car! I saw an 8 year old child sitting in a car seat, with his head hanging down and spit rolling out of his mouth just as I sat in my wheelchair at the age of 14… His dad kept apologizing that he had to break from our shoot and take care of his son who has suffered a TBI at 1 year old from his immunizations. I began speaking to the dad and letting him know everything was ok and I told him my story… From that moment my life has not been the same…

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After that day I have had signs from all around leading me to speak this truth about myself. To tell people of those dark days and nights I spent in that hospital. To tell people of all those horrible memories I was so ashamed of for so long…

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou

These past few years I have shed all this shame… I PROUDLY say that today I am 35 years old and I have lived two months of my life in a coma… And I did have a tracheotomy in my throat breathing for me for those two months… I PROUDLY say that I was told I would never have any children and I AM a mother of a gorgeous 7 year old boy! I PROUDLY say that I was in a wheelchair not knowing if I would ever walk another day of my life and today I AM a marathon runner who just ran the freaking Boston Marathon…

If you”re going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill

Today, I take so much pride in the fact that I never gave up, I knew I was going to WALK out of those hospital doors despite what I was being told and I take pride in the fact that I have allowed those memories whether I hid them or not to guide me to continue never giving up on any obstacle or any dream I have desired…If there is ANYTHING at all in this world I know to be of absolute truths, it is this: we are all capable of moving a freaking mountain…
“Never Give Up, Never Give In, Never Stop Trying, NEVER EVER GIVE UP!!!”

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