“You just have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be, Clark. Whoever that man is, he’s going to change the world. You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. Then the trust thing comes afterwards.” – Man Of Steel
Trusting the process of one’s life and evolutionary path, can be a daring and grand adventure. And in every daring comes with it a re-evaluation, a re-defining of ones values, goals and place in the world. Adversity is part of the acceptance of this daring adventure – we call life.
A DAY OF CELEBRATION:
Today, our Canada Day on Native land symbolizes the 1867 enactment of the British North American Act; where Canada became a kingdom in its own right. It is known as our nation’s birthday.
Yet, for me, this day means something more, because on July 1, 1951 marked the birthday of my mother, Nora Lynn Hall. She would have been 62 years old today. It has been 5 years since the tragedy of her death, rocked the suburb of Edgemont Village on the North Shore. Accidental suicide is one of the highest causes of death in ages 24 – 45.
It was a long and arduous battle, a 2 decade battle; her fight with addiction and mental illness, where the memories of violence, and control and helplessness of her second marriage haunted her. Where a man who vowed to love us both unconditionally, became an abuser, and my mother and I the victims,
These memories, are also mine; the road to acceptance and forgiveness is no easy task. Being able to let go, is one of the hardest, yet more influential lessons of my life. Yet, there can be no triumph without the necessary challenge.
A daring adventure requires methodical dedication to your ideals, your values and your integrity. It is the “Why” I lace up my shoes every July 1st and July 31st to celebrate my mothers memory, to honor her strength and courage. It is the “Why” I continue to stand up against violence against women and children, because in 1948 when Canada implemented Human Rights into Canadian Law, it stated that “WE” a people, that “WE” as women are equal. The right to choose is THE most powerful weapon, we as humans can unsheathe. And it is “WHY” I continue to tell my story, because with any adventure worth pursuing and achieving comes with it the “Hero’s Journey. Every Superhero, great and small has looked their demons in the face, have stepped inside the vessel we call fear, and has been shaken to the core so deep there are times when we think there may be no chance, we can crawl and scrape our way back out of that deep, black hole – the abyss of grief, of anger of pure rage.
RAGE AND SERENITY:
In my FEAT Canada speech this past March, I spoke about the space between “Rage and Serenity.” In X-Men first Class a young Charles Xavier, says to a young Magento; “True focus lies somewhere between rage and serenity.” It is that space where all of the memories co-mingle, the ones that frighten us, and the ones of pure joy. It is this gap where we can focus our attention and find our purpose. It is the initial inertia that sets forth the Hero’s Journey where motivated and acceptance of life’s card you are dealt enable you to commit to a major shift, a transformation in our lives.
“Minding the gap is a daring strategy. We have to pay attention to the space between there we’re actually standing and where we want to be. More, importantly, we have to practice the values that we’re holding out as important in our culture. Minding the gap requires both an embrace of our own vulnerability and cultivation of shame resilience – we’re going to be called upon to show up as leaders and educators in new and uncomfortable ways. We don’t have to be perfect, just engaged and committed to aligning values with action.” – Brene Brown, page 172 of Daring Greatly.
“Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” is the famous saying from Banner, also known as the Hulk. There is a fear in knowing ones power, because it means you must identify with anger and rage. Banner struggles to keep that inside of him, however, be that as it may, as angry and destructive as the Hulk may be, that power, if channelled for the betterment of humanity, to aid in survival can be a source of immense strength.
Captain America: “Dr. Banner, now might be a really good time for you to get angry.”
Banner: “That’s my secret Captain. I’m always angry.”
Anger is like any other emotion, it is irrational, never fixed, but always there. Superhero’s understand that any narrative, including their own has a measure of duality, the dark and the light. We can never truly know one, without the other. It is within these shadowy regions, where we begin to navigate and re design how and when we use this power towards positive change.
It is here, RUN4ACASUSE exists.
THE FACTS: DON’T BE A STATISTIC
- 1 in 4 women will suffer violence at the hands of another at some point in their lives
- 1 in 3 Canadians will experience or be connected to a mental health problem.
- 66% of all female victims of sexual assault are under the age of twenty-four, and 11% are under the age of eleven.Women aged 15 to 24 are killed at nearly three times the rate for all female victims of domestic homicide.
- 60% of women with a disability experience some form of violence.40
- Immigrant women may be more vulnerable to domestic violence due to economic dependence, language barriers, and a lack of knowledge about community resources
- On average, every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. In 2009, 67 women were murdered by a current or former spouse or boyfriend.1
- On any given day in Canada, more than 3,000 women (along with their 2,500 children) are living in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence.
Every year, I start July with a run to pay my respects to where my mother passed. I took up running after high school as a means to bring peace to my mind, to process, to let go and to one day be able to let it. It is on this day I walk that path again and pay tribute to all the lessons, my mother taught me in silence, in all the late night, half inebriated talks we had where she would tell me; “Sarah, never let a man hurt you, never settle. You are stronger than me, marry someone like your father.” She would tell me how proud she was of me, for all that I had accomplished, never taking the easy road, always taking the higher one, less traveled and more rocky.” She would tell me that even though she didn’t like the idea of me wanting to be a cop, she knew her daughter would never settle on a job she didn’t have the opportunity to change the world in.”
My mother was right; now, 2 decades later, I know what my “why” is and so now I run to use my sport to bring hope and clarity to others. Being honest with yourself is first and foremost. Choosing to push through the pain and make fear your ally is second. Thirdly, you have to go all balls out. Putting yourself and your story on display sets you up for criticism, ridicule and possible failure, which is why I believe there is no such thing as failure, there is only feedback. That feedback, is your fuel.
On Sunday July 28th, I will run 57km in honor of my mother, to celebrate her life. Every 1km represents a year of her life, a run from my house to WhytCliff Park, where we laid her ashes to rest. It is on this day where I pay tribute to her memory by supporting 2 organizations who strive to end violence against women and children, and who uphold the code of breaking stigma. My mother’s mental illness, her bi polar and addiction will not define her memory, nor will it define my future.
“What are not what we are underneath, but what we do that defines us.” – Batman Begins
BREAK THE SILENCE. SPEAK UP. STAND TALL.
Battered Women’s Support Services:
A determined group of women started BWSS in 1979 (the year I was born).
To End Violence Against Girls and Women
To Engage Men to Own Their Role To End Violence Against Women
The Violence Stops Here Campaign was established to:
- To Urge Men to Own Their Role to End Violence Against Women and influence change in men’s behaviour promoting healthy manhood
- To engage social media and online fundraising to raise awareness, engage volunteers and funds to see the end of violence against women
- To deliver training and education workshops on the issue of violence against women
- To hold cultural events that raise awareness, engage the general public in ending violence against women
- To entrench a national movement of men and women to end violence and discrimination against girls and women
CMHA North Shore
The Canadian Mental Health Association promotes the mental health of British Columbians on the North Shore and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness through information, education, services, research and advocacy.
Agenda for BC
- Mental health has the same priority as all other matters in public policy and in the allocation of resources
- There is no longer any discrimination and societal stigma attached to any form of mental health problem or illness or to those who live with a mental illness
- CMHA’s Framework for Support is the accepted guiding model in the formulation of public policy and the provision of care
- Communities encourage and support the creation of environments where nurturing of healthy minds and attitudes is an accepted, ongoing priority
- Support and assistance is provided in an appropriate, dignified and timely manner to all those who are experiencing mental illness
- Families and caregivers receive effective support in their important role in the provision of assistance
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Over the next month I ask you to please show your support. You can do this any way you wish, by donating funds or supporting by raising awareness. You can get involved here:
- Join me on RUN4MOM. Choose to run 5km or more on Sunday July 28th 2013.
- Donate to either one of the charities and take a stand against violence and stigma.
- Share this blog, share my story and raise awareness.
Donation link here: http://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=27748
Please help me reach my goal of a minimum of $1,000 for each charity. Thank you in advance. We are united, let’s break the silence.
Over the course of the next 4 weeks I will be sharing my insights on my personal journey with being a survivor of child physical and sexual abuse, and domestic violence. Each week I will present on the 5 stages of grief, a path to healing, exploring the daring adventure of rising above the stigma and breaking the silence – one step at a time.