Trauma is no respecter of gender, creed, ‘race’, sexuality, continent, weather system ... you get my drift?
When trauma arrives it does not first check any passport or identity document, it is swift and uncompromising in its severity. Trauma sweeps through all real or imagined borders.
It is like being picked up from your everyday life and sucked into the centre of a whirlwind only to be unceremoniously thrown from there and landing in a confused state of mind and body somewhere else. I’d compare it to suddenly awakening in the middle of an Olympic hurdles final in a wheel chair. Flummoxed and confused you reel from side to side trying to regain your balance and negotiate the obstacles in front of you.
You can see what you ought to do, but the first thought is that everything from thereon in is impossible.
Having been traumatised in the past I know that it is all one can do to try to breathe - much less to figure out how to progress from this moment to the next. Nevertheless, the survival instinct does eventually kick in and you decide to endure. You find or make your own way through. This is when you regain your ability to be extraordinary. This is the first moment of triumph in your new reality.
I am blessed that I have found many more such moments.
I am now thriving. Following my survival of the traumatic events I bore through the pain and made it to today where I can say “It’s good to survive and thrive”. Doing otherwise was never really an option for very long.
My life is blessed.
I am constantly awed by other people who have also experienced their own traumas and keep on keeping on. People like Beverly Kearney, the track and field coach who suffered severe injury but refused to give in to defeat. I have seen images of her in her hospital bed and trackside in her wheelchair as she coached her team to repeated victories. She never gave up, she too, survived and thrived.
Each one of us faces our own traumas. They may never be the same as mine or Beverly Kearney’s but they are traumatic in each individual life. We can survive and thrive, it all starts with the will to do so. We have to keep on trying.
“And when people ask me ‘how is it that you have succeeded in spite of your obstacles?’ And you know what I tell them? ‘I don’t have a choice.’ I don’t have a choice. Because my hero is my history, and my history is a legacy of people who have triumphed over tragedy, who have succeeded in spite of the oppression. How can I fail because they have taught me failure is not an option.”