Last night I struggled to sleep. Julie warned me that Dr. Pepper was going to be trouble, but I needed sugar. These days are long and my body is not up for the schedule I have. I ended up getting up at 2 AM – b/c sleep would not come- and took a bath. I knew at this point there was no way I was going to be able to make my 8 AM class the next day in person. Thank God for the Zoom option. It still ended up fruitful and wonderful.
I had two classes via zoom and then had a few-hour break before my evening class. I took a nap. When I woke up, I wanted to watch a movie. I was too tired to do any other work. I found “At the Heart of Gold: Inside USA Gymnastics Scandal.” Why I watched this knowing what I already know, I cannot explain. It is weird having to keep looking at this part of my life over and over again at this moment in time. Gymnastics was everything to me.Gymnastics was like what theology is to me now.
My body felt gross after watching. The world I was so obsessed with and wanting so badly to be a part of was grossly corrupt. Had I made it, I would have been a Larry Nassar victim on top of the physical and spiritual abuse already happening. The girls thought Larry was the nice one! This was my group.
The beginning of the documentary was Shannon Miller-my local shero-running and doing a vault on a known injury. She was hurt at the end of the vault. Steve Nunno, her coach who is a real jerk, was by her side trying to check on her. Larry Nassar comes too. When he mentions we need to go to the back, Shannon says: No, No. She ends up finding a way to get up.
I feel so sick. The documentary reveals even more about how sinister these systems were (so many systems let him through-their name is Legion) that let Larry Nassar have access to all these young girls.
Something that was said about these girls echoed how I have lived my life post-gymnastics: they were like wounded animals. They could not show they were hurt. This is what gym practice became for me. What I loved so much, I hated now. I needed out and it hurt so much. My injured back was my escape.
These people who meant the world to me and I was around a lot, are absent voices in this mess. They would not have been my advocates.
We talked about Christian advocacy tonight in class. Rachel Denhollander had to wait 16 years post-abuse to finally speak into this moment. She spent those 16 years researching what happened to her. She was an average gymnast like me, not elite, but Larry Nassar took her in and abused her. He even talked trash about he Mag 7 (1996 Olympians) to her. She has been empowered by the Holy Spirit to take him on. Got him at Michigan State, then USA Gymnastics, and is now taking on the SBC and their own sex abuse scandals. It has cost her greatly, but she lived into her power. She has created a community that is becoming empowered and taking on these corrupt systems that has hurt our daughters. (I am not here for anyone’s pro-life talk. Few have the authority to speak on that subject here in America).
She has liberated me. I carry these wounds in my body and I had no idea they were there. I had left that world and expected to never look back. Everything matters. Even the no-names like me.
Now I am learning I have worth. I am living into it without questioning these days. I am proud of the work I did in soccer b/c I did my part to say there is a problem and your children need protection. I hope this will cause us all to pause.
The ones who actually abused are awful, but the ones who covered it up are the main problems. Every time we ignore the voice of truth, more people suffer.
What power do you serve?
We have to start listening to our kids.