I am a survivor. My past is undeniable and I am open about what I have been subjected to in my life. My business is all about educating businesses and individuals about the impact, strategies, and solutions to domestic violence. I love my work it is my passion to share this knowledge.
We all get labeled
We all get labeled and the way we see ourselves is not necessarily how others see us. People often use the term ‘survivor of abuse’ to describe me. It is the label I get, now I am no longer seen as a victim. I know that it is meant as a compliment. But it does not represent all of me, what I love, my dreams or my ambitions.
Life has handed me some tough hands to play
Yes, life handed me a tough hand as a victim of abuse. I lived it, in many ways I will continue to live it for the rest of my life. Of course being a victim and a survivor are a huge part of my story, and I am proud of the courage strength and wisdom it took to become who I am.
Abuse is not the only thing I survived
There are so many other things about me that made me who I am. Like falling headfirst into a glass patio table which looking back I am completely unsure how I survived.
This was while I was in the safe house after leaving the refuge. I was told I would be lucky to walk again. I had dreamt of running a marathon since I was sixteen this was not a dream I was about to give up on. And I proud to say that less than two years after my accident I finished the Sydney marathon.
I have lot’s of labels, we all do
I am a mother, friend, consultant, educator, writer, runner, business owner, English, Australian and so much more. I am happy, sad and all the emotions in between. Those that know me well would describe me as funny. Maybe my experiences made me funny. I would not give up being funny, the power to make people laugh is a gift. If I labeled myself I would choose funny: Smart and funny!
I am not broken
Parts of me remain damaged and broken, but that is not all of me or even most of me. I have and am working hard to heal. I have had a fulfilling life full of amazing wins and devastating losses.
I have walked away from all my family so I could start again, the empty space left behind in life and heart and it hurts and I imagine it will be sore for the rest of my life. But by far the biggest hurt is when people don’t see all of me just the victim and survivor roles.
Moments to hold on to
And I proud to say I did run New York I come alive when I think about it, it makes me buzz. Life is made up of moments and although a great deal of mine has been painful.
One of my favourites would be in the New York City Marathon. I turned the corner to a well-dressed man standing in front of a steel band waving is white-gloved hands.
He looked me in the eye and said:
‘Welcome to Harlem’
Mid-race I stopped took a moment, looked up at the sky and said to myself ‘I love my life’ Now there’s a moment to remember.
A big part of my story is that of a survivor, a survivor of child abuse, a survivor of domestic violence a survivor of the poverty this pushed me into.
London here I come!
Now I am training to run the London Marathon, and raising money ActionAid for a cause which is close to my heart. This comes with challenges physical and emotional. Physically I have had challenges with my health and injuries to deal with. Emotionally, this is home so it brings up many memories, many really painful and hard to face.
But, as my story grows so does my horizon. Surviving is not all I am it is only part of my story. Maybe I have moved past surviving and mow I am truly living.
Dreams make the nightmares possible to bare.
Remember to see the whole person when talking to someone who survived or is still being victimised. Because being defined by abuse limits our capacity to regain our sense of self.