The Pieces Of Me

by GEM Magazine / Apr 21, 2015 / Comments

How does someone who pride themselves on being positive, giving motivation and encouragement to others, share the not so pleasant things that have happened to them?

That is the question I have pondered over many times since being asked to write this article. The truth is, there is no easy way to do this. I can't sugar coat the things from the past that have been inflicted. However, I can choose to continue on my path and not let my past define me but rather let it act as a mental “shove” to get up and leave it all in the ring, on my bike or on the road.

“Debbie, do you know why everyone hates you? It’s because you’re so goddam happy all the time.” This statement fell on my ears from a swim team member when I was 16. If she only knew, she might not be so quick to judge. My smile, my laughter, my good nature was my emotional armour.

I am a survivor of childhood sexual, emotional and physical abuse.

When I box, the little girl in me comes out. The child who radiated light, gave love and who cared but could not protect herself against the babysitter, the mother’s boyfriend or the family member. When I am gloved, she takes those moments, punching to fight back and gain control of her situation.

When I run, the 12 year old who finally told someone about her past comes out. She hits the pavement hard because that’s what she felt like doing when her disclosure fell on deaf ears and was denied, even though there had been witness to what had happened. She wanted to run away, now she just runs to feel the power of her stride.

When I push myself and fight back exhaustion at a bootcamp, that’s when the child in me who was mercifully teased through school comes to the surface. She gets sassy and finds the voice and strength she lacked to respond to the hurtful actions of others.

When I cycle and I feel the muscles in my legs rippling and the air fill my lungs, that is when the grown woman in me shows up. The woman whose ability to parent and protect her own children was questioned and exploited. The woman who chose to believe the hurtful insults being thrown at her rather than trust her intelligence and judgement.

The woman who chose to hide underneath the comforting layers of fat she'd let build up on her body to protect her and her heart. Now she lets her heart pound with exertion and adrenaline.

Who shows up during all of these things? Me. The person I have become. The woman who faces each and every day knowing that something she shares might help another person feel like they’re not alone. The woman who carries all of these different experiences within her and yet chooses to show up fighting everyday to be better, faster and stronger.

What drives me you ask? ALL the pieces of me.

By Debbie Stirling

Debbie currently resides In Victoria BC, works for the provincial government and suffers what she refers to as “fitness A.D.D”. Debbie is constantly striving to challenge herself in new ways and crush her limits. She would like to help motivate those around her who are in need of their own changes to stay on track and be successful in their journey.

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