Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Adventure

My hope is to be able to post my "story" of how my Keys to Recovery Adventure went.  It's going to be a long process.

I'll start with what I feel like summarizes the whole trip and my feelings.

This guy, this amazing athlete, Blain Reeves, allowed me to attach myself to his hip throughout our adventure. For whatever reason, unknown to me, his unwavering presence kept me going through three very physically and mentally challenging days. We spent many hours paddling in the ocean, with Blain controlling the boat in the back and literally towing other boats with his body, while I talked his head off about anything and everything. On the bike, I struggled. I had never ridden a kayak, but had biked, so I assumed that biking would be my strong point. I was wrong. Blain never gave up on my ability to hang with the pack. When I needed a push, his hand was on my back to guide me into my own. Even when I repeatedly told him to EFF OFF, or gave him the middle finger, he stayed with me. Jokingly, I wanted a photo of me pushing him. The tattoo on my back is in the spot where Blain continued to push me, and where the most painful, largest blood clots I had rested in my lungs. I will do "whatever it takes" to continue to make myself into the person I know I can be. I can never repay what he, or any of the other crew on this trip did for me. From Ernie Villanueva and his constant hugs and belief in me (and awesome massages), to Robyn Benincasa and her badass ability to "Shake N Bake slingshot" me ahead of her, to Andrea Randle who had the balls to put me in the boat with Blain, to Jeff "HoneyBunny" for just being the SHIT--this group is a well oiled machine. I am so incredibly lucky.

I would never say that I'm glad that the clots happened to me. But if they hadn't, I fear that I never would have experienced this beauty. The other women on this trip are amazing. I can't even begin to go there. The beauty and grace of this group, it's just...overwhelming and so, so lovely. I love you all.

Here's another part of what I wrote on the Project Athena Foundation page about this photo and our group.

This guy is a class act. Incredibly humble, (just like everyone else on the PAF team), never complains, pushes to the point of absolutely hating him but loving him for the challenge at the same time. He never gave up on me, even when I had given up on myself. This is the hardest thing I have ever done--not just physically, but to emotionally let go and let others love and support me and carry me there--to the mental finish line and beyond. I consider myself a VERY lucky soul to have been part of this adventure. Not just today, for for every day, the rest of my life. The diverse group of people I met on this adventure have each changed my life in these intricate little ways that I can't explain, but know that my life is infinitely better because of them. It isn't just about being a "survivor" and pushing yourself to do something you never thought you could do, it's about breaking down ALL of your walls, finding out how to love yourself and let others love you. I've never loved myself in an unconditional way, or really at all. Through the eyes of all of these amazing warriors, I see that I have a beautiful soul, a crazy loud personality, a strong spirit and a HORRIBLE trash mouth! Thank you so much to anyone and everyone who made this adventure happen for me and all of the other Athenas. Much love.

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