Relationships

TRANSFORMING VICTIMIZATION: TRUE STORIES

TRANSFORMING VICTIMIZATION: TRUE STORY NUMBER 4

How does one heal and grow from an unthinkable traumatic experience? It helps each of us when others open their hearts and tell their stories. In this issue and several following, personal stories illustrate how we can move beyond staying a victim and how to use painful events to grow spiritually. Know that the events that wounded us, whether or not they are as severe as those in these stories, can deepen our relationship with our Self and be used for the upliftment of our consciousness. To raise our consciousness out of the consensus reality of victim/victimizer consciousness, takes tremendous courage and vigilance.

Allow these courageous people to impact you and show you the way out of trauma. Their sharing is very personal and each of them hopes to show you that no matter how challenging a life situation, there are ways to grow and heal from the experience. Some of the best teachers and healers are the wounded healers who have healed themselves. Here is story number four. If you are drawn to write your story, send it to me.

If you have missed any of the previous stories click here for Story 1, Story 2, and Story 3

A Turning-Point in My Journey From Being Born
with Spastic Cerebral Palsy to Leading a Productive and Fulfilling Adult Life

By Vicky Jeter

When Suzanne suggested I might submit a part of my story of being born with Cerebral Palsy to her newsletter, the most challenging thing for me was where to start. There are almost as many significant aspects of disability and perceptions of disability as there are people, and their families, who are challenged with them. So, where along the paths of life do unique aspects and intimately personal experiences of disability cross into empathetic understanding? And, where does understanding become the bridge to inspire inter-reliance in relationships and personal self-esteem?

I was sitting with these questions within myself, when a friend asked me what was it like when I was told I would not walk without crutches. Here we have an interesting beginning. I was never told I would not walk without crutches; I was never told I would walk without crutches, either. What I was told always was "someday." This ambiguous state of affairs put the most tantalizing potential of my life in perpetual Limbo. With each of five orthopedic surgeries--with each evaluation by my doctors I was left wondering how long I would have to wait to know when someday was.

As frustrating and heartless as it seemed to me in those endless moments, there was really nothing else, in integrity, they could tell me. Cerebral Palsy is a catch-all term for an incredibly wide range of physical, and in some cases, mental challenges. Each person faced with the condition interacts with it differently for a variety of reasons, and this makes outcomes highly unpredictable.

I was nine years old when it occurred to me over a particularly trying stay in the hospital that "someday" translated more concretely into, "we don't know." At the end of a particularly memorable confrontation with God, I came to the distinct conclusion that if "they," meaning anyone and everyone moved to talk to me about my prospects for walking independently, could not really say--then I was simply going to have to determine when . . . and also what "someday" would mean for me.

If this may not seem too practically applicable from the objective, adult perspective--I am here to tell you even as I reflect back on it today, this shift in perspective out of "I don't know," came as a huge energetic relief of the psychological weight of the question which had been hanging over me since I could remember; and it also gave me an internal sense of cause to set my own goals to shoot for.

This sense of self-referral in goal-setting was a very big deal, and it is a frame of reference I still rely on today. Before I came to this point within myself I dutifully went to my physical therapy, and put my braces on every day because I was supposed to, and it was obvious to me that these actions were supposed to help--even if I really didn't have a clue how. I remember time and again looking into the earnest eyes of my therapist imploring me to put all I had into what we were doing. To me, it felt almost like pointless drudgery akin to a kid who is really not into piano lessons.
There really wasn't a way, from the angle she was trying, for me to "get" it that every effort I might make with her increased my potential to successfully navigate the able-bodied world in which I would, "someday" very much long to be independent.

Here are a couple of empowerment reflections: First, I did meet one very dear friend who had just about the same level of C.P. that was my experience. But she walked independent of crutches, where I did not. I walked with two Canadian crutches from the age of four, until I was 18. I learned from her mother that one sure-fire way to inspire a child to "get" the value of physical therapy at the level of driven participation is to give them challenges in play that motivate them to stretch physical limits while the stretching is not the mental/emotional focus. Her mother got her a doll that was a big as she was; the only way my friend could relate to the doll and move her around was to stand up with her--she eventually walked to carry her. Thus, she never used crutches. Secondly, in my personal experience, and in my experience witnessing a majority of persons with disabilities, what we can do--and how we will do it--can be vastly different when we are by ourselves than when we are with other people. This can be true for a variety of reasons. As I discovered this, I learned for me the biggest reason is that people "with me" in my life physically move much faster than I. Sometimes the marked variation in speed alone can make me stop if I am not paying close attention. It is an internal feeling like it is futile to try to keep up. When I am by myself, it does not matter to me how long something takes, and I just do what it takes until my objective is achieved.

Another question that came up in the course of this writing is how do I deal with the challenges of permanent disability? When I was a very little girl--not quite four years old--someone gifted me with an Almanac size volume of real-life pictures of American life. It was called a "Big Golden Book;" on the front was a host of angels ringing golden bells. The last page of the book was a beautiful image of the Christ alone on a mound in Heaven just after he'd risen form Earth. That book, and especially that picture captivated my attention. My parents were not religious in practice. I would not understand the contexts of the symbolism for years. But I loved that picture and the spontaneous feelings it brought up in me. I spent spans of time with it, posturing my hands in the way his hands were. patterning these connections over and over again in my youth created the vehicle for the gifts of Grace to reach me easily, and the cornerstones of a profound and active Faith that has blossomed to encompass spiritual practices from around the world.

Through navigating the challenges on my journey I have learned that the source of my faith is not in any particular symbolism or the teachings that support it. It is the feeling I invest in any aspect of Life I naturally find faith in.

So, when I was 18, my friend who had never walked with crutches showed me that with determination and tenacity there was no reason I couldn't still catch up with her in ability to walk independently. Because I knew she had come from where I had come from, literally, I was able to believe her, and I did it--I laid down my crutches one day, and just did not pick them up again. Today, I am 43, and as I age I find at times it is safest to use one cane as I am not as pliable in falling as I once was.

The beauty of this principle of self-resource is that these same concepts can apply to anyone, navigating through any challenge. Being a person of self-referral and self-resourcing is not indicative of an attitude of control; in reality the strongest quality in achieving it is surrender--surrender to knowing and accepting our realistic limitations so that we may realistically know what it will take in the way of planning and/or assistance to achieve our objectives and goals. So long as we have no need to limit what it will take, almost anything can be possible.

Vicky Jeter has been a Practitioner of Religious Science for 15 years, specializing in practical applications of universal principles for healing and transformation. She specializes in assisting people to understand the pre- and perinatal origins of their beliefs, which is all about the journey coming into being human and birth. Because her disability is from birth, Vicky has deep passion and conviction for releasing the effects of birth trauma. She is a Level II Trainee with Emerson Seminars. Vicky is a published author of Philosophy, Short stories and Poetry. She lives with her husband in Spring, Texas. To contact Vicky you are welcome to email her at: vgoldkey@ev1.net

 

Vicky took heaven by storm, tenaciously walking the inner journey of self-discovery desiring to make sense of everything in her life from watching her mother attempt to commit suicide at age three, growing up with neglect in an alcoholic family system, to being molested as a pre-teenager. Add to this having been born with spastic cerebral palsy. Vicky is upbeat, positive, dynamic, curious, honest with herself, relentless in digging into her unconscious and hidden belief system, and perpetually living her spiritual values.

It is going on 20 years now that I have known Vicky. We met after a talk that I presented at her church about building oneís self-esteem. I canít say I was her counselor, it was more like her guide as she navigated the waters of higher consciousness, always self-motivated, and driven to achieve inner peace and clarity about her life situations and to fulfill her spiritual missions. Since my book, Enlightening Cinderella, was published, Vicky lovingly calls me her Fairy Godmother.

Vicky touches many peopleís lives through her writing, speaking, and spiritual work with others. She is married and has worked for Continental Airlines for 25 years.

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