Saturday, April 17, 2010

Breaking The Silence

Today is the Breaking The Silence main event in Fresno, CA. From their Facebook Fan Site: Breaking the Silence is a Fresno-based, not-for-profit organization, dedicated to raising public awareness of child abuse realities and prevention techniques through survivor empowerment and community education.

My friends Dakota & Corky Draconi are activists. This of course, is only one of the hats they each wear. They are also survivors, partners, parents, students, educators, taxi-cab drivers . . . They are, also, two of my best friends. I admire their passion and commitment to giving a voice to countless children who suffer abuse daily. They have also created a memorial to the lost victims of child abuse. They call it The Wall of Tears:

Everyday, in America, 4 children die as the result of child abuse. 4. Every day. Today. Yesterday. Tomorrow. Kids are dying in America. My friends, and their organization, use The Wall of Tears as seen above, and The Wall of Tears Online Book of Tears to memorialize the children whose voices will never be heard again.

BTS also works to educate the community about child abuse. They speak to community groups and college classes to spread the word about child abuse in America today. BTS provides current statistical information, but they also provide strategies for detecting abuse and information about what to do if you suspect abuse. Finally, they try to empower survivors of abuse. By taking abuse out of the shroud of secrecy it depends on, and putting a spotlight to it, BTS provides survivors with the information that they are not alone. It was not their fault. Through open mic events, BTS provides opportunities for survivors to break their silence and share their truths.

Dakota and Corky are my friends. They are also my heroes. I am not an activist, I sometimes wish I were, but its not where my passion is. I'm so thank for Dakota, Corky, BTS and other organizations & people like them that find their passion in activism and work so hard to change our world.

I'm not an activist. But I AM a survivor. I survived years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. It's not a secret, I long ago broke my silence. But it's not something I speak of or share in my everyday life. But today, I feel it's important to speak about it. Through the wonders of technology, particularly Facebook, I have in the last year reconnected with many friends from grade school, high school and college. In school, what was happening to me, what had happened to me, what was going to happen to me, was a secret. I never told anyone. I often thought about it, but was quite certain in my head, that teachers, friends, even strangers, would call me a liar or worse yet, reinforce what I was already quite certain of: that it was my fault, that I was bad and dirty and . . . Those were some of the many distortions planted and cultivated in my head by my perpetrators. I was an innocent, powerless child. I've spent years working hard to undo the distorted thinking and reclaim my voice. Now I am a strong, powerful woman. My abuse does not define me, but it is part of who I am. The abuse I survived, the struggle to heal, the learning to thrive, all these things contribute to the person you know today. And I'm still working to heal and I'm still learning to thrive. I share these things now, because I know that many people in my life today, and in the past, don't know I am a survivor. Sadly, I know that many people in my life are also survivors. I have several friends who I have met through survivor networks and support groups. But I know that many people in my life, both current and past friends whose survivorship is unknown to me. Perhaps they are already on their healing journey. Or maybe what they survived is still a secret. I share these things today to let them know they are not alone. I share these things today to empower my fellow survivors with these truths: You were innocent. It was not your fault. You survived the abuse. You can survive the healing. Life on the other side of healing is a-maz-ing.

I salute and thank with all my heart Corky, Dakota and the whole BTS organization for all their hard work on behalf of all the victims and all the survivors. Thank You!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Here I am, a week after last week's post. I made it. 4 days ago I walked the Crescent City Classic for the first time. It was an awesome experience. My time was 2hrs:28mins:40secs. That's just under 25mins/mile. Yes I'm a turtle. But as I tell my patients all the time, slow and steady wins the race, that's what the tortoise taught the hare. Of course I didn't *win* the race! But I so completely feel like a winner!

I joined my friends/coaches/mentors Dave & Karen Massey at the CCC Expo on Friday. The Expo was interesting to say the least. More running clothes, shoes, socks, equipment, do-dads, etc., than I ever knew existed. Karen has partnered with a friend to sell Bondi Bands at various Expo's for running events for the next few months. Bondi Bands are kinda cool little headbands made of that wicking material that keeps sweat and sunscreen, etc from running in your eyes, and more importantly for me, keeps your hair somewhat under control while you move. Karen and Dave had picked out a cute one for me. It says: "Walking Girl". I wore it all day Friday and for the race on Saturday. It totally did help with pulling my head sweat away from my head. And my hair was out of my face the whole race.

Saturday morning I got up early and got dressed in my walking 'uniform'. Realize now, that they don't make cool running/walking clothes for people my size. So I wore what I have worn on most of my walks: a cute, pink, scrapbooking tshirt and lavender capri's. I put body glide all over my toes and the balls of my feet then put on my expensive breathable socks and my walking shoes. Last I put on my headband and my fanny pack. I met Karen and Dave down the street from my dad's in front of the Napoleon House, and we walked down past Jackson Square with the throngs of people descending on Decateur for the start of the race. After some quick pictures and hugs, Dave was off to join the running people, while Karen and I waited around for the masses of people to pass us by heading for the start line. Finally, after about 5mins we joined the pack walking toward the start. We passed the actual start line at 11mins:06secs. That means that by the time we had reached the start line, the elite racers (aka the Kenyans) had passed the 2 mile mark!!

We walked slowly at first because we were in a large pack of walkers. But slowly, and constantly we were passed by faster walkers. Finally the pack thinned out and before I knew it we were at the 1 mile point. I took some water and kept walking. My hip and knee (L) were achy, but I knew from my training, that if I kept going they would settle down and they did.

It was very interesting to walk through the streets of New Orleans. It certainly gives you a different perspective on our city. Mile 2 came and went and I felt like I was in a good stride. Karen who walked with me, commented that my pace was good. I was glad to hear that because I felt so slow since we were still being passed continually. Mile 3 and the 5K mark came up and I was glad to know I was halfway there. When I reached Mile 4 I was starting to hurt a little. I could feel a hot spot on the ball of my Right foot. This ticked me off because I had coated it with body glide and put on my expensive no blister socks. I told Karen that in the next few weeks I wanted her to go with me to get better shoes and also to check into an orthotic for my shoes because the blisters have been a problem for me every walk 3 miles or longer. I had blister band aids in my fanny pack. But, I didn't stop when I felt the hotspot and by mile 5 I knew if I stopped I would stiffen up and have trouble making it to the end. So, I just kept walking. I tried wiggling my toes and found myself walking weirdly trying not to aggravate the blister. (I have been paying for this in hip and back pain since the race . . .sigh I know better now).

Between miles 4 & 5 I started noticing people walking the opposite direction, back down the street I was walking up. At first I thought they were going backwards for some unknown reason. Then Karen told me they were finished and were leaving the park. The very same park I had not yet reached and did not have in sight yet. I told Karen "I hate those people!"

Somewhere around 5.25 miles I was hurting all the time. I got very quiet. Karen regaled me with tales from her training for and running her first marathon. I am soooo thankful Karen was with me. Because when it started hurting I would have lost my mind trying to keep going by myself. She kept reassuring me I was going to make it. I just nodded mostly. But in my head I was telling her back: of course I'm going to make it, I haven't worked this hard and told everyone I know to stop with less than a mile to go. So I plugged along.

Finally, we came around NOMA to Roosevelt. I knew the race ended on Roosevelt. I could see down the way a bit some kind of contraption across the road. I was hoping it was the finish, but realized we had not yet crossed the 6 mile mark. The contraption was the picture taking people. But the end was near. Karen had called Dave and he ran alongside the course for the last tenth of a mile or so clapping and cheering loudly. Dave's brother Marcus was at the finish line with their video camera to get the finish on tape! Karen and I walked across the finish line together with our arms around each other. We had done it. I had met my goal. I turned to ask her where the beds where and I was tacklehugged by Dave. He almost knocked me off my feet and he held me up in his hug til i got my balance back. He hugged me sooooo tight. He was so proud! I was overwhelmed.

We slowly made our way to the post race area. Dave got me a cold water but the fruit was all gone and the free beer lines were very long. Bag of Donuts was rocking out but I just hurt and wanted to sit. Karen and Dave decided we should go since i was so tired. It was such a great thing for them to do for me. They could have stayed to party a while longer. Marcus went to get the car and met us at Marconi & Marconi. Getting into the car was harder than I expected, because my whole left leg was hurting. But sitting down was worth it all. Just having the pressure off my hips and knees and back. We ended up taking a circuitous route back to the quarter (by way of River Ridge, lol). But, it was all good. Once I was sitting I was fine. I was worried about whether my legs would work when it was time to get out of the car. When we got to the Quarter my legs were stiff but had somewhat of a second wind. Karen came in with me while Dave went to park the car.

My dad told me later I was moving slow, and a little bent over, but I was smiling from ear to ear! Karen, Dave & I went to get food at Johnny's Poboy and sat in the courtyard of my Dad's place and ate together. It was great to get to spend some relaxing time with them while they talked to me about how well I did and about what we would work on next. When they left I went inside and peeled off my shoes and socks. My left foot as usual was fine. But my right foot had 2 HUGE blisters on the ball of my foot. I put on the blister band aids and laid down to try to rest. That was not as easy as I had hoped it would be, but I rested enough to shower and change to go out to dinner with my dad and Joann. I did have to wear my Crocs to dinner because my feet were still swollen and I couldn't get them in my black dress boots. My dad told everyone about my walking the CCC. He was really proud of me. That felt good. I was really proud of me. That felt awesome!

I'm still incredibly proud of myself. I'm still achy, esp my left hip and SI joint/back. But, I'm resting my joints and using ice and its almost back to normal. I haven't yet walked again this week because it's been a crazy week at work. But I want to walk to/at the beach this weekend when I head down to Ocean Springs to see the coast fam.

I did it. I walked my first 10K. I have so many people to thank. Karen and Dave Massey are at the top of my list. I could not have done this without their training schedule and support. They made the CCC all about me and my success. They are special people who are great coaches. My friend Ann has been a big cheerleader for me from the beginning. I took several of my early longer walks from her house, in her neighborhood. Maybe next year or the year after when you are completely recovered from your surgery you will walk the CCC with me my friend! My friend Michelle helped me find an indoor place to get in my 5 miles on a treadmill when it was rainy and in the low 50s in DC the weekend of Lucas' bday. She cheered me on as I struggled to get the 5 miles done on the boring treadmill, while she was doing her own workout. My brother, Rich, and my sister in law Barbara, as well as my friend Dee were all very supportive of my walking and their support meant alot. It meant so much that ya'll believed in me and supported my work toward my goal. My scrapbooking friends in Melbourne, Nancy, Sherri S, Sherry J, Rae, (oh I know I'm leaving out someone), these ladies supported me and cheered me on at crops after my Saturday walks. I truly had so much support. And I did it. I really did it. I walked my first 10K. Wow.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Watch out Crescent City Classic, here I come!

I can hardly believe its only 3 days until I will be walking the CCC! I'm both excited and nervous! But I'm also completely confident in myself! I will finish! I've worked really hard to get ready for this. Anyone who knows me, knows I am morally opposed to sweating for any reason! LOL And believe me when I tell you I work up a sweat walking longer distances. Exercise has not really interested me, in fact I find it completely boring. But I have really enjoyed training for the CCC. It's been a very goal directed process. And I've watched myself grow in confidence and ability over the last 13 weeks.

I want to take a moment to thank my coaches/mentors Karen and Dave Massey. Both of them are truly inspirational people in my life. And both of them are dear friends as well. They have played a huge roll in the success of my training for the CCC. They created my training schedule for me. And took a woman whose legs were screaming for relief after a 15 minute walk 3 months ago, and transformed me into a walking machine! And, I might add, they did all this long distance. Having Dave and Karen to coach and mentor me through this, has been a transforming experience. And I know they will continue to be there to work toward many other goals as I continue this amazing transformation. You can get more information about Karen and Dave the website for their non profit: A Good Day, Inc.

I would say the hardest part of the training for me was walking or exercising after work. I work very hard all day. Occupational Therapy is a very physical job. I start early with showering and other ADLs (activities of daily living) and then exercise my patients to prepare them to return home. I walk up and down the hallways of the hospital/nursing home all day. I lift people and assist them with all sorts of activities. I am TIRED at the end of my day. All I want to do is go home and collapse onto the sofa until bedtime. I wish I were more of a morning person, so I could walk before work. But to get up and walk 30mins, then shower and be at work by 7, geeze I'd have to get up at 530 or earlier! Of course now that I've written it, I'm sitting here wondering if I could do that for 2 mornings a week. Then maybe I could do some yoga on the other evenings after work. Hmmmm, its a thought. Can I really be transforming into a morning person? Say it isn't so! (have I mentioned I'm also morally opposed to mornings?)

So, tonight I'm packing my bags for my weekend trip home to NOLA! I head out tomorrow after my CPR class, which is after work. I'm off on Friday so I can go *REGISTER* (yes, I forgot to do it - I'm using my lack of internet service at home as my excuse! LOL) and attend the Expo for the CCC. Also going to the Odinet Crawfish Boil, mmmmmmmm my first boiled crawfish in over 2 years! I'm staying at my Aunt Rosie's house in Arabi and I'm excited to get to visit with her and all the cousins. I'm also hoping to get to see my friend Dee at Scrappersaurus this weekend. And of course walk the CCC with Karen (Dave is running so he will be waiting for us at the finish line). My Dad is taking me to dinner Saturday night if I can still walk! And then we are doing brunch on Sunday before I head back up here to Natchez.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quick Update!

Lots to share tonight!

Started my new job in Natchez, Mississippi. Nice people at work. Found an apartment today! Yay! Close to work in a nice neighborhood. Garage Apartment with built in pets! (Landlord has 2 dogs and 3 cats!). Hoping to move in this weekend! Hopefully I will be able to share the adventures I've had finding an apartment here. I have a couple of tales to tell!

Happy Birthday to my Dad! He turned 76 yesterday! He's doing great after his knee replacement. He still works full time at the DA's office. I'm looking forward to seeing him at Luc's birthday next weekend in DC. And I'm even MORE looking forward to visiting HOME the following weekend!

Well wishes to my friend and wellness mentor/coach Karen. She had a kidney removed today and is doing great! She actually called me this afternoon. Wishing you a speedy recovery my friend! I'll push you in the CCC if necessary, hehe.

Congratulations to my cousin Michael on the birth of his 3rd son, Brody. And of course congratulations to Nana and Aunt Heather. Very much looking forward to visiting you all on the coast while I'm here in Natchez.

Special thanks to my friend Ann for riding out here with me from Florida. Ann has become my official relocation traveling partner. And thanks to Fred for letting me steal his wife for our adventures!

Ann and I stopped at the most fabulous scrapbook store in the universe -- Scrappersaurus, in Mandeville and had lunch with our great friends/owner Dee and Emery. We missed Felix who was dealing a bee issue! Next time Felix! I'm sooo looking forward to cropping with my old Scrappersaurus friends again!

My 1st college roommate, Linda, found me on the internet and wrote to me. How exciting is that?!? She invited me to join her facebook group for our Sorority, Chi Omega, Mu Theta Chapter. And I totally caved and joined facebook. I'm excited to be in touch with old friends again! And with family spread out all over the country as well. Thanks Linda!

I have to get up early tomorrow to go do ADLs with my new lady, so I'll say goodnight here. Hope everyone has a fab weekend!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Walking to New Orleans

Well not literally. But almost.

I'm officially in training for the Crescent City Classic! I actually started my training my first week of work. But got a little side-tracked after the 'firing' episode. I got back on track and had a great 2 mile walk in the morning, and came down with the flu that evening. 3 weeks later after bronchitis set in and I needed a Zpack and an inhaler, I'm back to walking.

My current regimen is to walk 1.5 miles twice a week after work, and exercise twice a week after work, rest on Friday, and then have my long, distance building walk on Saturday, resting again on Sunday.

Yes, I actually exercised yesterday. And, yes, I needed 2 ice packs and 3 ibuprofen to get my legs to stop squawking before bedtime. But I was fine this morning and walked my mile and a half after work. Tomorrow I exercise again, but the focus is arms, so hopefully it wont be as hard on the body.

My legs are doing most of the work with the walking. And they work all day long carrying me and all my excess weight around. I wish I could say my eating was going well, but it just seems to be going and going. Lately I have been extremely hungry in the evenings and at night. Some of it is boredom, being home alone. But not all of it. I'm struggling to get a handle on it and make better choices.

I only have 7 work days left here in Lakeland. My boss is on vacation until my last day of work. Yippee! I still don't know where I'm going next. Florida, Virginia, and Maryland are all possibilities. That is the hardest part about traveling: the uncertainty of the next assignment. But I have, and am learning to just go with the flow and believe it will all work out in the end, because it always has.

I miss the kids, but I will see them in 3 short weeks, when I fly to DC for Lucas' 7th birthday! That's exciting for sure. And I'm also excited that in just 5 week's I'll be flying home to walk the CCC.

That's all for tonight. Think of me and say a prayer that my feet, knees and hips make it to Easter in one piece! Blog soon I hope!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

75. Been fired from a job

Ok, so, does being fired for 1 hour count?

Yes, I'm completely serious.

About, hmmm, 3 weeks ago I was fired by my rehab director. Then he called me back about an hour after I left to see if I wanted to come back. It's quite the tale of high drama. I agreed to a 30-day notice, meaning I would work for only 30 more days instead of the full 13 weeks. It was by my choice to shorten my time. Yesterday he asked me about a 30 day extension, and I agreed. So I'm currently scheduled to be in Lakeland until about the 20th of March.

Since I don't want to make any waves at work, I'm not gonna post the juicy details. Just in case. But if you want them, call, email, or comment and I'll share the drama with you :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Random Stuff

I know I haven't blogged in a while. New years revolutions or not, life is busy and i get distracted. But I'm here tonight with some random 'stuff'.

I'm in Lakeland, FL and I've started my 2nd week of my new job. Nice people, nice patients, still in a hotel looking for housing.

My neice and nephews will be flying to Orlando tomorrow (with my brother and sister in law, hehe), for their first visit to Disneyworld. I'm totally excited for them. Ann and I are going to Disney for the weekend so I will get to see them and experience Disney with them.

I've started my training to walk the Crescent City Classic in April. I have a long way to go but i've got 12 weeks to get there!

I had a whole week off in between assignments and spent it with Ann in Melbourne. It was great to have a few days off and to get to hang out with her. We also started working on our scrapbooks for our 2 cross country trips. I'm hoping to take pictures soon to post of our layouts. They are turning out awesome. And it's been such a fun way to relive the cool trips!

So, I saw this list of things on another blog I read and thought I would play along. The things in RED are the things I've done.

1. Started your own blog Go Blow Horn!!!

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii I was there for my big 4-0, and again in 2007.

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland/world Many times to the World, Thanksgiving 2005 with my Dragonpack friends, going back to the World this weekend with Ann!!!

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis Absolutely NOT gonna happen!

10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris Summer of 1982 and Christmas vacation 1985.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch Surely Scrapbooking counts!

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France Twice.

20. Slept on an overnight train Once as a child going to Atlanta and again in Europe on my Christmas vacation trip 1985

21. Had a pillow fight Not as much fun as it sounds, imho

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill Mental health days Rock!

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice Went to Venice summer of 1982, did NOT ride a gondola.

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset My 2 favorite Sunsets were at the Grand Canyon and in Maui, Hawaii; My favorite Sunrise was at the Grand Canyon.

31. Hit a home run Many times when i played cabbage balls as a kid.

32. Been on a cruise My last cruise was with my Granny in 1990.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied?

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person Summer of 1982

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David Twice

41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt This summer on my cross country trip. AMAZING!

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person Twice (yes I hit the same big visitor spots on both trips)

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris Twice :)

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling I love snorkling. I hope to SNUBA (a combo of snorkel and scuba)

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud messy!

54. Gone to a drive-in theater The St. Bernard Drive In, where I saw one of my all time favorite movies, Song of the South.

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies I was a brownie for one year.

62. Gone whale watching

63. Gotten flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma I used to donate every 8 weeks when the blood bank had a blood drive at my nursing home in Franklinton every other month.

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp Dachau, outside of Munich, Christmas vacation 1985, it was a place heaviness and sorrow.

67. Bounced a check Unfortunately

68. Flown in a helicopter
Twice in Hawaii, over the volcano on the big island and around the island of Kauai.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy I have a stuffed elephant, my brothers Lil' huggems baby, and have given the kids a couple of our old Fisher Price Little People toys.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial But the Jefferson Memorial is my favorite.
71. Eaten caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square Several times.

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London I've been to London twice, but have not yet seen the changing of the guard.

77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
Twice, one on a solo trip and again with the Dragonpack peeps over New Years. I think it is the most beautiful place on earth.

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car The only time I ever considered it was as a new grad and had my first teaching job. Now the only way it will happen is if I actually decide to by a hybrid.

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper St. Bernard Voice, for sports, school, and historical society stuff.

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House With my family in the 8th grade.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox Don't remember it!
89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury Always wanted to, but couldn't (s0 far) because my dad was a Judge (and then a
district attorney)

91. Met someone famous I met Archie Manning at a New Orleans Jazz game at the Superdome.

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one Too many :(
94. Had a baby Can't. I like cats better, anyhow!

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake I saw it this summer driving cross country.

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone Just got a new LG Vu.

99. Been stung by a bee Hurts!