When I was a kid my dad infected me with the sport-virus. He showed me the beauty of running. I love you dad. I hope you can hear me wherever your soul might be right now. And remember never stop running.
I had a dream. I wanted to be a professional runner and run for gold in the World Championships as fast as Marion Jones did in Athens in 1997. My team and my trainer called me White MJ. I was good. I trained every day. Rain, snow, heat. I ran.
One day I broke my leg and got fascinated by the human body. I had a great physiotherapist who taught me a lot about the human musculoskeletal system. One day he gave me a muscles and bones chart which I put on the wall in my room. I remember staring at it for hours. Reading. Analysing. Comparing. When my parents gave me The great atlas of the human body everything around me stopped existing. It was my bible. I was 11. I studied day and night. I learned more than 120 muscles by their latin names, I knew how they work, what they do, I knew their origins and insertions. 206 bones. Injuries, treatments, rehab plans. I had a new passion. I had a new dream. I wanted to become an orthopaedic surgeon or physiotherapist and work with the best athletes in the world.
What I didnít know was that four years later this dream and my passion would be taken away from me. When I was 15 I qualified for the Junior Athletics Championships. I was so excited and happy. The training camp was approaching fast and it was all I could talk about. I worked so hard to run for my gold. Unfortunately the person I trusted so much, my trainer, my mentor destroyed my dream and my life. He destroyed me. What happened changed who I was. It changed who I wanted to be and determined who Iíve became. I started hating sport and everything related to sport. I put the charts and the book in a box and hid it in our basement. I injured my knee on purpose to avoid trainings and sport classes and to gain some time to recover from the abortion no one knew about. I decided to run away. I got accepted to a high school in Germany and left home when I was 16. New school. New start. Tabula rasa. But it wasnít easy. After what happened to me I became a very quiet person keeping to myself most of the time. Plus I didnít speak the language so people quickly labelled me as a weirdo. They labelled me as boring and stupid cause I didnít talk much = I had nothing interested or clever to say. And as if that wasnít enough I developed PTSD/RTS. Every time I had flashbacks or panic attacks I freaked out and didnít know how to make it stop. I didnít let people touch me. I stopped eating. Became a workaholic and perfectionist. It made my life a living hell. I didn't allow myself to cry. I told myself to be strong. But deep inside I was still just a kid needing and wanting to be taken care of.
Being mocked by other students and teachers I decided that one day Iíd speak German like a native. And I do (and Iíll get there with my English too. Itís just a matter of time. So come on make fun of me, it makes me work harder every day). I studied day and night. And they all stopped laughing and pointing at me when they needed help with their homework or needed someone to study with. They didnít laugh anymore when I graduated as the second best student of my year and got a uni scholarship. My family and ďfriendsĒ quit laughing too when I graduated from the uni as the best international student in the history of my faculty ever. For some of them Iím still not good enough. A triple masters degree, 4 languages, book translations with my name under the author's name, but for some people itís still not enough.
Now I have a dream again. My first dream since I was 15. And this time Iím not going to give up on this dream no matter what. No rapist will break me this time, no back pain will stop me from achieving my new goal. ďObstacles donít have to stop you. If you run into a wall, donít turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.Ē (M. Jordan) Itís time to find that box in the basement and dust it off.
So will I master this degree? Yes. I will. Just donít forget to tell me how much I suck, how stupid I am. Donít forget your zero-support-attitude as I got used to it and I think I'm kinda addicted to it. Donít forget that I canít handle compliments. What I need is to get slapped in the face. Then Iíll be able to move mountains.
Iíve already planned the next three years of my life. I know exactly which way I wanna go and what kind of therapist I wanna become. I want to become a therapist who understands the complexity of both human nature and pain as well as the impact that pain may have on patientís life, esp. chronic pain. A therapist who understands that the physical wellbeing always comes hand in hand with the mental wellbeing. I want to see my patients as an indivisible whole, unique individuals with many different layers specific for each and every of them. I want to be a therapist who cares, listens, pays attention and looks behind the mask. I want to listen to their bodies, work through their limitations, walk them through the pain and provide solutions. What I want is not just providing a rub, sending patients home and forgetting their names, faces and stories. I want to remember. I want to be prepared before they come to see me. I want them to know that Iím there for them and understand what theyíre going through.
I want to be a passionate, knowledgeable and well trained therapist. I want to learn from the best and become the best. And hope to find a good teacher. The best teacher. Someone who can teach me how to become the therapist I want to be. I'm willing to sacrifice everything for this. Iím obsessed with self improvement and want to make it my main strength in order to provide my patients with the best treatment possible to help them fight the pain. When I have a goal I must achieve it and this means that I will be a therapist who explores a problem by digging down to it's roots until the desired solution is reached. I want to assist my patients in their journey to health as best as I can.
I know all to well what living with pain means. Iíve met many therapists. And by many I mean really a whole bunch of them. But there is only one I look up to and respect. So I know how important it is to find someone you can trust as a therapist and as a human being. Just a few days ago I heard a fellow MST student saying ďpeople with chronic pain are nothing but a huge pain in the ass. Psychos. But as long as they pay haha" Well thatís just a great attitude isnít it? People like her come to school proudly wearing their personal trainer, fitness trainer and whatever trainer t-shirts feeling so very important, clever and experienced. Fuck you.
Well maybe I am weird. Don't know. My life has never been about money and possessing things. It has always been just about living my life, being free and feeling safe. Simple. When I buy things itís because I need them. Not to show off. When I get qualified in something itís not because I want to get a paper and make more money. Itís cause I want to improve my skills, become better at something and broaden my horizons. Thatís what pisses my family off. They donít understand. They couldnít understand my decision about coming to Australia. Selling everything and leaving to start from 0 again. Well I donít get attached to things. What I wanted was to change my life and find a better place for myself, a place where I could fit in. But they still donít get it. I donít make big plans cause I know how quickly everything can fall apart. Yes, I do think about my future but donít stress about it much. Come what may. Iím doing my best what I can today. And Iíll do my best tomorrow as well. Then weíll see. Thatís why my mum says I should have a normal life like my brother. He is a great and successful marine. Got promoted recently and is a commander now. He has a great wife, 3 fabulous boys, a big nice house with a big garden where they grill in summer, oh and a fancy car. Me on the other hand...Iím just a translator. Not even a sworn one (thanks mum for pointing that out every time we talk). I just translate books and manage a multilingual team of 10 people and a whole bunch of clients. No big deal. Iím 29. Married, but probably getting divorced soon. No children (yes mum I know the clock is ticking, youíve said it often enough). Not having a fancy house or a fabulous career. Well looks like I donít match the common pattern of a successful, young, happy woman. But has anyone ever asked me if Iím happy with how I live my life? No. And guess what - I am. My life is who I am. And I am who I am. Deal with it. You don't have to like me. Leave me alone.
Yes mum Iíll get a job after finishing my studies. I can take care of myself. Don't worry.
I have a dream. It feels good. it feels right. I wonít give up on it this time.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." (H. Jackson Brown Jr.)