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Monday Motivation: In Praise of Simone Biles, Superstar and ALL Trauma Survivors

I watched every gymnastics film available on Netflix when I didn’t have TV in my rental studio and was packing for my 3rd move in 5 months. Watching their feats helped motivate me to wrap things up and place them carefully in boxes when I was running on empty.

Years ago, I was addicted to Make It or Break It and then, the non-fiction US team led by Gabrielle Douglas was SUCH a joy to watch during the actual 2012 Olympics.

Douglas made everything look effortless.

Raisman’s parents were so funny as they watched their phenomenal daughter.

Then, 2016 came around and it got even better.

Simone Biles.

SUCH joy pouring out of her being as she performed incredible feats.

I blogged about her resilience and daily pre gymnastics workout (have often wondered if she still does this) where she used only her upper body to scale a rope on the beach years ago (the old blog didn’t propagate to the new site) but you can see the clip of her climb HERE – she tells Ellen DeGeneres, ‘It’s very easy because I do one rope a day like that.’ Consistency matters.

Am so so delighted that she is being recognised for her phenomenal gymnastics. At 22, she’s already the most decorated gymnast in history.

Her being penalised for such discipline, perseverance and natural talent seemed enormously unfair but she didn’t let it stop her.

All this in spite of her trauma history.

She was one of 140 then girls who not only survived their abusive coach, Larry Nassar, but who helped actually see their perpetrator put behind bars.

Aly Raisman’s statement was as incredible, moving, empowering and inspiring to watch as her magnificent gymnastics.

I don’t know Simone Biles personally and I don’t want to be contributing to a myth about her somehow being superhuman.

While she seems to radiate joy, am in no doubt that she, as she stated, felt broken by this predator at times. Am so glad she didn’t give up on her gymnastics because of him.

I remember Eve Ensler‘s words at a VDay Conference I attended in New York City back in 2004. She talked about how so often with trauma, it takes almost superhuman strength just to survive. To function.

I was able to tell her and Gloria Steinem that their writing had saved my life. Couldn’t believe I got to meet them and Jane Fonda, Sally Field and others who had become such an inspiration to others having felt so broken at times themselves.

Whatever you’ve survived, however broken you might feel (at times, much of the time), there’s so much more to you. Post traumatic growth is possible.

You might not be an Olympic gymnast, Oscar winning actor, life saving activist or award winning playwright but there is a part of you that, given the right conditions, can still flourish and thrive.

Online trauma therapy can be helpful but often, face to face trauma therapy is better. I love being able to offer outdoor therapy (sometimes called nature based therapy and wild therapy) as the Wild Atlantic Way is so beautiful and healing a presence itself. If you’re not local enough to Westport, please do find someone near you.

For some people, Single Session Therapy is enough for now and that’s available every few months in Essex, too.

You deserve the safe space and time and attention to help you process what you’ve been through – not in a way that takes away your resourcefulness but in a way that helps you build on all you already have within yourself.

And if you’re not ready to seek support (I know it took me YEARS), you can be your own self care coach and access self care tools to experiment with HERE

Big love,

Eve Menezes Cunningham self care coach therapist supervisor
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