Power Shift

I've been so incredibly and happily overwhelmed by the reaction to sharing my story.  I've had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people, share stories and take part of so many important discussions.  I had a moment today during my most recent speaking engagement at UofT that I felt the need to share.  On a side note, moving forward, I will do my best to find my way here at least weekly.  Both fortunately and unfortunately I was not prepared for just how much would come from this and between that, work, hockey, life, well this has fallen by the wayside.  So, I do promise to try harder to stay consistent moving forward.

So today, I spoke with a group in partnership with UofTWellness and the Hart House.  It was a last minute engagement aimed at providing students and staff the opportunity to come out and share some time focused on Mental Health.  I'm always amazed by the questions I'm asked and the discussions that come from sharing my story.  As though the walls just fall for a moment and people feel the freedom of acceptance and understanding.  I find it so refreshing, cathartic even! It is perhaps some of the best therapy I've ever completed, entirely exposed and recognizing that there is no value to my editing my answers for approval.  Today I was asked, "now that you've shared your story, do you feel any less like a pariah?"

Seriously contemplate that question for a moment because I'm pretty confident it revisited every potential issue that I ever contemplated in breaking my silence in the first place.  However, the answer came so easily to me.

Take the power away from those who judge you and the judgement no longer matters.  I spent ten years petrified of how people would react to me, see me, judge me.  I would be shocked if anybody could come close to attaining any negative judgement even close to that I had of myself.  The failure, the shame, the embarrassment.

I had lunch a couple of days ago with an incredible man, Dr. Peter Jensen, and when I told him I was forced to stop my schooling when I was "diagnosed" he commented on the fact that it seemed I had never let academics get in the way of my education.  Every day in this life is a day we can learn.

Today, for the woman who posed that question to me, I thank you.  I had learned the lesson but to realize it out loud was an entirely enlightening experience. Others judgements' only have as much power as we give them and if the judgement is ignorant or without grounds, the level of impact that will have on us is entirely within our control.

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