When people tell me I am such an inspiration this is what I want to say to them…

Well, guess what, I don’t think I’m that special. Or feel very inspiring on any given day, especially the tough days when I can hear my inner whiner. I feel all too human and know putting one foot in front of the other is something each of us can to do. Even when one of those feet is dragging.

While I really do appreciate you thinking I’m inspiring, I just can’t see it.

There are so many people out there dealing with much worse than me and who come through it shining like the sun and the moon and the stars. They write books, create movies/TV shows, start businesses like SickBiz, go on Dancing with the Stars…stuff that just exhausts me thinking about it.

Honestly, most days I feel blessed things aren’t worse for me, which is saying something since I’ve been diagnosed with some pretty crappy things. But I still have the use of my limbs, I can think more often, and I’m damn funny. At least in my own head.

There were years I would’ve been gleeful to hear how inspiring my story is and how it’s made a positive impact on others.

In those days I was a warrior—a career martial arts/studio owner and the first female Master Instructor in my martial arts system of Tae Kwon-Do, Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai kickboxing, and Hapkido. It took me almost 20 years and 45,000+ hours of teaching and training to earn the rank and it’s something I’m incredibly proud of doing. I’m also part of the elite few single owner female-run martial arts studios in the world.

Then in 2014, I was rudely rammed in a hit and run, lost control of my car, and my SUV was smashed into a brick wall. No broken bones and the injuries appeared a few days later. Three whiplashes, back/body/neck pain you’d never want to feel, and SIX concussions. I’d never even had one concussion, and getting six at one time was overkill I thought. The concussions gave me a traumatic brain injury and postconcussive syndrome—damage I’m still working to overcome now, three years later. The neck/back pain may be something I learn to live with.

At the heart of it all, the most important thing I’ve done is to stay out of victimhood.

Since I’ve been a defense expert for many years, I know the power being a victim has over us and I refused to fall into its siren song.

And it’s been tempting—my brain has been diagnosed with ADD, anxiety/panic, depression, PTSD, NED (neuro endocrine disorder), adrenal abnormality (fight or flight constant), executive dysfunction, mood dysregulation, insomnia, and some other stuff I can’t even remember.

But please read the start of that statement again, “my brain has been diagnosed.”

I am not my injury.

And I feel damn lucky that even though my career as a martial artist and studio business owner is done, I will find ways to rise up again. I am a warrior, and I intrinsically understand and teach power; true inner power. I am no one and no thing’s victim. I refuse to step into victimology for myself for one teensy little moment because I need all my strength to focus on healing.

What is “victimology” in case you might wanna check yourself before you, you know you…wreck yourself?

“Victimology” means allowing any of our unhappiness, pain, upset, injury, or disappointment to fall into being someone or something else’s fault.

I am not my injury, and neither are you. We are people with injuries or diseases. Period.

Victimology means we place the blame of what we’re dealing with on something outside of us. Which makes us very very small; a pawn in the scheme of things. Things in life just happening to us. Instead of “this thing happened.”

There’s no power in playing small or like a victim. There’s not one single smidgen of owning our healing if we’ve given our power away to something or someone outside.

And yes, I know, I didn’t cause my accident just like no one causes an illness or disability. The other driver was 100 percent at fault, but that won’t help me if I carry it around. I’d just feel sad, angry, broken, hopeless, helpless, lost in Greenland (see Princess Bride for reference.)

If we play the victim card (even in our head), we lose our valuable resource of inner power.

How do you know someone is playing a victim? By the stories they share. These stories can keep us stuck in a loop of playing the victim OF something or someone because we have no control.

Victim ideology can be a mental program we run subconsciously placing blame, so we’re never at fault. We’re blameless. We aren’t in charge. There’s no power there.

No matter what happens with any of us, only we can choose to determine if we are a victim or if it’s just something that’s happened. A victor. We can choose to be survivors, thrivers, or overcomers; not just victims.

The power is in the choice we make.