Sunday, April 21, 2019
National Poetry Month: Come Out and Play
My childhood was stolen away from me at the age of 5 when I contracted paralytic polio. Three years later, shortly after coming out of my leg brace, my father became alcoholic. I endured 9 years of unrelenting abuse of every imaginable kind until his death by suicide when I was 17 years old.
The gift of the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome led me to writing poetry and unleashing a powerful form of healing from my mind, heart and soul. I then discovered the sport of running.
From "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953":
Unlike many who may experience running in the rain a nuisance. I feel deeply blessed and grateful I am to be able to run in the rain, navigating, sometimes without success, the mud puddles. As a survivor of paralytic polio, lugging a full metal leg brace and then not having the flexibility or freedom in my body as I got older, I never had the chance to splash in puddles and run in the rain. Shortly after being diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, I had a dream about splashing in the puddles without my leg brace. Imagine the scene with Gene Kelly singing and dancing to the title song from “Singing in the Rain.” That dream inspired this poem:
Come Out and Play
Arms flung open wide dancing in the rain
pure abiding joy to feel alive again
healing tears fall and blend in God’s puddle
no time to sit in a corner and huddle
all the old rules driven by fears
washed away now by God’s loving tears
the imprint dad left no longer remains
rain washes away all of the stains
baptized with love, Truth lights my way
the sun shines through on this rainy day
splashing and laughing my heart opens wide
embracing and flowing I’m one with the tide
God takes my hand release the old way
bathe in my glory come out and play.
I joyfully ran in the rain without a leg brace training for my third half marathon in as many years. We made a quick pit stop at home to fill up water bottles, use the bathroom and we got on our way for the final miles on our double digit training run. While waiting for the light to change, standing on the corner of Route 9, Paula rolled down her window and honked at us. We waved and smiled. What an energy boost! After our run, I thanked her on Facebook for the honk. She said how inspired she feels whenever she sees our post run photos. Twice around the Route 9 Reservoir, up the hills back to our house, the last mile up and down Eliot Street finishing strong with another hill and we deposited another 10 miles in the Bank of Bermuda. Double digits - done!
It's never too late to have a happy childhood! I learned at the age of 54 years old how to experience joy and freedom in my body splashing and running in the rain. BUT, the experience first happened in my imagination before I had recovered from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma! The power of that imagery signaled biochemical changes in my body that led to healing and transformation.
No matter what your age is, I invite you to come out and play!
From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,
Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com
Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link
My books are available on Amazon and at Paper Fiesta in Natick on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route.