Monday, February 14, 2011

"Teen Dating Violence. It Happens in Utah" Press Conference

Last fall when Cory and I did RAINN day I thought it was the hardest thing I had ever done or could ever do. Well, today I felt like I had a day where I stretched and grew! Today I was a participant in the press conference as the booklet "Teen Dating Violence. It Happens in Utah" was released. I was incredibly nervous. Cory and I went up a day early so I could relax and get ready for that didn't happen. I had myself so wound up and I had anxiety to almost put myself into a panic attack. It was insane! Thankfully I have a very patient husband who helped me calm down and was there whenever I needed him. Just before the press conference I was able to spend some time with one of my favorite Shakespeare friends (Hi Andrea!!) and it really helped me calm my nerves. (Nothing like talking about gory MacBeth to calm me down! ha! It was great!)

The gals that organized it were great. They were so king and considerate. They went out of their way to help us feel comfortable. Even while I was boo-hooing as I spoke, they quickly grabbed me some tissues. I was so glad to have met them. I could really tell that they genuinely cared about the issue and for Sara (the other gal that spoke) myself and the others that had their stories in the booklet. Thank you Katie McMinn and your helper. :-)

Ok about the picture below. Sara was the 16 year old girl that went before me. I was doing really good right until she started speaking. She talked about the nightmares that she has, about the triggers she has, about not feeling safe and it really struck me how similar our healing process has been. It really struck a chord with me and I had a hard time keeping my emotions in check. I promised myself that I would stay emotionally present and not check out. ( If I "checked out" I would have read my statement like I was reading any other paper, I would not feel connected to me, almost as if it happened to someone else. Make sense?) I knew I would be able to give my message well since I had practices it extensively (at least it felt like extensively) but when I heard Sara it brought a big rush of emotion that I was unprepared for. I knew what she had gone through and how hard it was. My heart aches for her. She will have some hard days, but she is strong and can do anything. Her abuse happened only 2 years ago and she has come so far already! She is definitely one of my heros.

In case you missed it and would like to see the press conference, here is some links to choose from.
KSL story with video -there is a link to a video of my entire statement on this page as well as the news report...I haven't figure out how to post the video directly here. Carole Mikita was very nice. While I was speaking I could feel her strength and knew that she cared about the issue. However, the stats at the beginning of her story don't jive with what I am familiar with. The national stat I am aware of is 10% teens have been physically hurt in the last year. In Utah is 1 in 5 (20%). I think I am going to have to find some updated stats.

Deseret News Article -it has that LOVERLY picture from above.

FOX news story with video -I am not featured here, but it is still a really good story.

Teen Violence Booklet with my story published in it. This is the online version. My story is on page 8-9.

Along with my sweetie Cory, my mom and my cousin Celeste came to support me. My Aunt Nancy also came by. It meant so much! I know that it has not been easy for my loved ones and friends to watch me go through the healing process and for them to go through it as well. Their strength has carried me when I didn't think I could walk. All of the kind comments, emails, texts, phone calls strengthened my courage and my determination to overcome this nightmare. My earthly angels were everywhere. What a blessing. Thanks everyone.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hiking in Zion in the winter

I should be packing for our upcoming trip to Salt Lake City..but I'm not. I am distracting myself once again. Woo hoo! But give me some credit, I'm blogging instead of reading that book over there that is SCREAMING my name. :-D

I LOVE living near Zion National Park. It is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been. Recently we went for a small hike up to Emerald Pool to get the boys' wiggles out. The weather has been beautiful and in the upper 50's..a lovely time to go for a hike. However I forget that Zion gets very little sunshine in the wintertime. Because of the high mountains, it is mostly in the shade (especially where we were!). In the summer at Zion has a lot of shade as well, but it sure doesn't seem as cold.

James with the icicles.-They were huge!!

Ben wanted to make sure we were looking for lizards...didn't see any. I wonder where they are...hhhmm.... PERHAPS SOMEPLACE WARM!

Ben really did say "I'm king of the world!!!"...which everyone knows is true.

Mark had fun too, even if he was stuck in a stroller for most of it.

Ok I really have to go pack now....after I read a couple more chapters..hee hee hee...
Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Random thoughts...

Its late and I should be in bed. But I'm not. I'm semi-awake and trying to sort out my thoughts.

The news conference is a week from today and I am already feeling a lot of anxiety about it. I'm not scared about talking about what happened, I am more nervous about WHAT to say. I don't want to say the wrong thing. How do I sum up 15 years of healing in 5 minutes? I don't think my finger nails can handle this much longer.

I also wanted to share an experience that I had this last week at commonwealth. (That is where I teach my Shakespeare class. Shakespeare is one of many classes taught there.) I was asked to participate in a simulation for the Hero class. ( A simulation is a tool that we use at the commonwealth to help the scholars go through stressful situations while being in a safe setting. They learn how to think on their toes and they learn how to make really hard decisions at the same time. )

The class was studying Pearl Harbor and their mentors planned a simulation surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor. James came with me to help.

I was given a name and a situation that I was in. The scholars had to come and rescue me. My injury was shrapnel in my leg -so I couldn't walk very easily- and my eyes had been injured so that I couldn't see. (I even closed my eyes the whole time!)

The scholars quickly found me and assessed the situation. They had a difficult time deciding what to do. The girl that was in charge was not comfortable being in charge. She would much rather follow orders than give orders. I can relate to that..when I was younger I never wanted to appear "mean" or "confrontational" --who does anyway? I always associated the one "in charge and giving orders" to being "mean." I would think "What if I made the wrong choice? What if I look stupid? And I always thought others could do it better." (Wow did you follow all of those quotes?!) The gal that was in charge, she has it in her to make the tough calls, she just doesn't know it yet. She will be a powerful leader someday.

The time came when the scholars realized that they had to move me. Physically move me. Quite a ways. At first, we tried to hobble down the hall. Since my right leg was injured, I relied on my left leg, which isn't my strong leg. My hopping was more like dragging and it wasn't going very well. Each time they tried to set me down "nicely" I would fall to the ground since my left leg is a wimp. So there I was, crumpled on the floor of the hallway with the time running out to get me to safety.

That's when things got a little....out of my control.

The group knew they needed to move me. I was going into shock (a simulated shock!) and so I wasn't able to help much anymore. The next thing I knew, the group announce, "Everyone grab her, lets pick her up." At that moment I was ready to jump up and say "I'm healed! Its a miracle!!" But I listened to that small voice and didn't say anything.

I am not a twiggy shaped gal. I am more of a 230lb bowling ball shape. When the scholars literally lifted me up there I was a wee bit overcome. I was a little freaked out, a little scared, and felt awholelotta awe for the youth. They proceeded to carry me to safety.

As the group was heaving me to safety I had a couple of thoughts going through my head. (Besides OH MY HECK!) The thought of how we, as adults and parents, are literally trusting our children-the youth- to get us to safety in the future. To get our country to safety. We have to teach them the principles that they will need so that they can make the difficult decisions. They are the ones that will be leaders when I am gray (more gray) in fifteen to twenty short years.

The youth these days are amazing and I totally trust them.

It was a great experience, I am so glad I was able to be part of it. :-)

Oh...and I hope you never have to have a root canal. Nuff said there.