- When you overcome obstacles you aren’t alone
- Step forward holding what is broken and joyful
- Use your experience to make a difference
No matter your experience, there’s common ground when we overcome obstacles. I had an eating disorder for 10 years. When I learned how R A Dickey healed after being sexually assaulted, I discovered our route to recovery took parallel paths.
Baseball season may be over for the Jays, but the lessons learned are not. By getting into the playoffs for the first time in 22 years, more and more people started paying attention to Toronto’s home team. Walking around town I started to see more blue and white clothing, lights and conversation. Then on Friday, October 23rd the CN Tower went dark. The Royals won 4-2 in Kansas City.
From all the buzz, the best part for me was learning about R A Dickey. He’s been playing for the Blue Jays since 2013. He’s a knuckleball pitcher who was sexually assaulted as a child. He’s a person on this planet; somebody who makes you feel proud to be human.
Overcome obstacles by sharing your experience
I first heard about R A Dickey when I was listening to CBC Radio. The short segment prompted me to read more about him. Pretty soon I was watching news reports, reading papers and listening to interviews online. The more I discovered about Robert Allen Dickey, the more I realized what a hero he is in sports, to sexual assault survivors and to anybody who wants a blueprint on how to overcome obstacles.
Why? R A Dickey didn’t just overcome obstacles. He broke down barriers and became a better person.
R A Dickey’s sexual abuse lead him to struggle as a teenager and gave him suicidal thoughts as an adult. He didn’t have the tools to process what had happened. Soon his coping mechanisms became toxic. In his autobiography, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball, Dickey shares how he turned his life around. He shares how he went from projecting strength, when he was completely broken inside, to being someone who talks about his sexual assault. Along the way so much more has happened. R A Dickey has helped de-stigmatize something the world of professional sports has difficulty trying to address.
… [I’m] so glad that the city has been blessed with him and the game has been blessed with him because … we don’t’ talk about it enough and it’s really changed the narrative of sports in a huge way.
–Stacey Mae Fowles, Sexual Assault Survivor and journalist
R A Dickey shared his story about sexual abuse because he wishes that as a young boy he had access to a story like his own. He said it would have helped him know he’s not inadequate because of the assault. It would have helped him recognize he’s not alone. Dickey hopes his story will help other people have the courage to open up and get help.
After tragedy happens, you don’t just move on
The public persona of an athlete is to be without emotion or vulnerability. But R A Dickey has smashed yet another standard in sports. He said that a common misconception is that when people face trauma they get over it and move on. In reality, survivors are living with that trauma every day.
Sharing this truth with the world is important information. Not just for people who want to overcome obstacles, but also for loved ones who want to be supportive. It’s so easy to have a problem and then be hard on yourself for feeling upset about it. But it’s ok to feel sad. R A Dickey shares this insight and offers a solution.
Ultimately the thing that helped me find some healing [was when] I learned that life was not about turning the page, or getting to the other side of something. It’s about holding what is broken about the world and holding what is joyful about the world, and being able to take a step forward with both. That is living well in the moment. And that’s what I’ve tried to make a discipline of.
–R.A. Dickey, Baseball Pitcher for The Blue Jays
Helping others is part of the healing process
Dickey climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to create awareness around human trafficking in India. The funds he raised went to an organization called Bombay Teen Challenge. R A Dickey risked his 2012 season salary ($4,250,000) to pursue this altruistic endeavor. I love that he used his interests and abilities to help others.
3 lessons from R A Dickey that help you overcome obstacles
1. Share your story. You’re not alone. Other people will help you create a path toward recovery.
2. It’s important to accept the experience you’ve had by acknowledging it’s part of your life and balance it with the gratitude you feel for the good things that are also going on.
3. Take a bad situation and make something good out of it by using what you’ve learned to help others.
Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it
When you’ve overcome obstacles what gave you the most strength?