An Interview with "Myself"

An Interview with myself:





Some may call it weird, others may call it interesting but either way what a better way to get to know me? After all, I know myself best. So, here we go, an interview like no other where I ask the hard-hitting questions and then I answer them honestly, baring my soul. Honestly, this may be a bit weird but I think I can handle it.

Cathy Barry (The Interviewer) 

So, before I get into it, let's get to know a bit more about you. Tell us how it all started.

Cathy Barry (The Interviewee)

I was born Catherine Axelle Schadskaje in a small town in France, just northeast of Paris, near Lille. I was the 4th child of 6. My parents moved to Canada when I was 2 and 1/2 and we lived in many different places in Quebec. Due to the nature of my Dad's work, we moved to Ontario a few times and then back again to Quebec. By the time I was 11 years old I had already moved 13 times. Looking back on this, I know it was hard to keep friends and maintain those friendships because of these moves. Back then we didn't have cell phones or the internet. We were armed with a pen and paper, rotary phones, and our bicycles. I recall riding my bike for hours just to go to a friend's house and then riding home again in the dark. But when you move to another province, it's a bit harder to hop on your bike and go. So we wrote letters. I recall waiting by the mailbox for a letter from my best friend Isabelle wondering what she was up to. That's just how it was back then. 

By the time I was 11 we made our final move to Oshawa, Ontario. I was going to a new school in Grade 6. It was tough again to be the new kid with the French accent having to make new friends all over again. I recall moving to an English school back in Grade 2 in Ontario, not knowing a word of English - the kids back then they just made fun of you at first, they thought you were a novelty. Not to say I wasn't able to fit in and make friends but my experience as a kid was certainly a lot different than that of my peers. But I survived because that's what I always did. 

Cathy Barry (The Interviewer)

I would agree that most kids haven't had that type of experience and I am sure it was tough to make and keep friends. Any regrets about that? 

Cathy Barry (The Interviewee)

As a kid, you really don't have any choice in what happens to you, where you live, when you move etc...you just have to accept and survive. That's essentially what I did. I became a survivalist. Don't get me wrong, it certainly wasn't easy by any means but I had no choice. You go where your parents take you, you do what you have to do to survive. 

Cathy Barry (The Interviewer)

I hear you say "survive" a lot which is probably not what I would expect. I think most people would say they accepted it or it was just what happened but you say "I became a survivalist". What's the real meaning behind that? 

Cathy Barry (The Interviewee)

Well, I guess you have the added advantage of being me and knowing what I mean when I say I'm a survivalist" but the audience - they wouldn't have a clue. 

I'm a very private person and this "survivalist mentality" stems from what I went thru as a child growing up. I have 3 sisters and 2 brothers although one brother passed away in a car accident when I was 15 years old. Let's just say that to maintain that privacy and fairness to them I will only speak on how things affected me but also in general terms.

I came from a place of abuse; emotional, physical, and mental abuse. Some of it directed at me and some of it directed at my siblings. Let's just say that this was a dark family secret. You didn't speak about it, you just bared it. The funny thing is that as a child you get used to what happens around you and to you.. While you know something deep down inside is not right, you get used to it and you start to believe that everyone's life is like this. This is normal. The other side of it is that as a child you are powerless to change your circumstances. So, for me, I learned at a very young age to "survive". It doesn't mean that I didn't suffer, it doesn't mean that it didn't impact me - because it most certainly did. It molded and shaped me into who I became. But in order for me to live each and every day, I had to learn to survive.

Cathy Barry (The Interviewer)

As yourself, I have the added knowledge of what took place when you were young and how it did affect you. But for our audience, I want to ask you how did this experience shape you? What was the impact?

Cathy Barry (The Interviewee) 

It wasn't till after I had my first child that I realized there were cracks in my armor. I began to suffer from Anxiety and Panic attacks. I had no idea what was happening to me and I actually thought I was going crazy. I sought out therapy. It helped to talk to someone for the first time and eventually being who I was, I decided that for me to get better, I had to handle this on my own. What I realize now, is that my experiences as a child shaped me into this survivalist but that meant burying feelings and living a fake life. 

Cathy Barry (The Interviewer)

What do you mean fake life? That's pretty shocking to hear actually?

Cathy Barry (The Interviewee)

What I mean by "fake life" is that I became a version of myself that wasn't true to the feelings I had inside. I repressed those feelings. I became something I wasn't just for me to survive in the day to day. I became what I was "supposed" to be. Someone who did what was expected of her in life. Someone who conformed to society and what I perceived people expected of me. I know it sounds weird and to some extent, there were real parts of me interacting with the "perceived version" but for the most part, I just wanted to be accepted, I wanted to be made to feel worthy. If I was the "best" at everything, people would like me, they would accept me and not abandon me. I was adamant that people would never see the real vulnerable, sad, broken little girl inside. I had to show them I was strong.

Cathy Barry (The Interviewer)

I thank you for your honesty, I am sure it's not easy to admit these things. How are you any different from those around you who suffered? 

Cathy Barry (The Interviewee)

I'm probably not that much different from anyone else who has ever suffered from childhood trauma. We all do what we can to survive. Some of us turn to addiction as our way to cope, others suffer in silence, isolating themselves all their lives. Some just give up on life. Some like me live life repressing those feelings of shame, guilt, regret, unworthiness. I don't think I am much different to be honest. There are people out there who have suffered in worst ways than me. What I do know, is that I've changed a lot since figuring out that I was suffering and I needed help. It's also not easy admitting that something is wrong. I didn't understand it. Often that comes too late when we hit rock bottom. That's where I hope we can make changes in the way we approach mental health in our society. When I was a young child there was no such thing. If anything, if you showed any cracks in your mental state, there was something terribly wrong with you and you weren't mentally stable. While it's becoming a lot more normal and accepted that we all need mental health help there are still people out there who love to label us as "sick, not stable, emotional" etc. That needs to change. We are all different, we react to situations differently and we all deal with things in our own ways. Some of us suffer more than others but that doesn't minimize what people feel inside. We need more compassion and understanding amongst each other and for ourselves. 

Cathy Barry (The Interviewer)

Have you been able to give yourself and others that understanding and compassion?

Cathy Barry (The Interviewee)

This is a touchy question to answer, to be honest. While I want to say that yes I have, I know that's not true. While I go thru this journey I realize that I do need to be understanding of what I went thru and how it shaped me. I need to show that same compassion I would show someone else who went thru what I went thru. But it's extremely difficult. I switch from compassion and understanding to blaming myself and self-condemnation. I think it's important to take responsibility for one's actions and accepting the result of those actions. For me, I haven't quite learned to forgive myself and to be understanding of what brought about those actions, right or wrong. I wish I could be more compassionate to myself, I know that's a key aspect that I need to work on. For me, it's a work in progress that will take a lot of time. I've unfortunately made mistakes and things I am not proud of at all. But I also know that everyone makes mistakes in life. We are all human. To "Err" is to be human. That's the struggle you see, how do I convince myself that I am human. How do I forgive myself and show myself compassion for the wrongs I've done. Those are things I am working on. I am trying hard to right my wrongs, not just with words but with my actions. 

Cathy Barry (The Interviewer)

How has this experience shaped your outlook and your business "Eclipse Track and Field Club"?

Cathy Barry (The Interviewee)

I wouldn't be human if I didn't admit that at times I feel jaded and my outlook on people is filled with suspicion and fear. But, I also know that's not healthy for me. I'm trying hard to really be me, genuine, truthful, vulnerable but also setting boundaries when I need to. For me, I want to feel "safe enough" that I can live life being the truest version of me. 

That's what I did with Eclipse Track and Field Club Inc. I poured my soul into my business, meaning I wanted it to be the real me. I wanted it to represent the values that I do cherish the most. I wanted my business to not be tarnished by pretenses. I wanted it to be a place where everyone is welcomed, where everyone is encouraged and supported. I created a mission statement that represented me:

"Eclipse Track & Field Club is dedicated to helping athletes of any age share in the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of Track and Field, Running, Athlete Conditioning, Team and Speed Development Training. We aim to build the leaders of tomorrow and to help athletes exceed to a newer higher level of success. Our commitment is to provide the best training, knowledge, and experience with the best coaching in the industry."

I also surrounded myself with people that I knew would share my vision. Positive and caring people. It's not about being the best athlete, but rather being the best version of yourself. Whether that means that you become one of the best athletes the world has ever seen, it's about your journey to get there. 

I've been extremely lucky and blessed with my Eclipse Track and Field Club. It is exactly how I imagined it to be. Eclipse Track and Field Club is filled with coaches who care and encourage and develop athletes and at the same time filled with athletes who want to learn, grow and feel part of a team that appreciates them for who they are and what they have to offer. Our parents are a huge source of support and encouragement not only for me but for all the athletes in the Club. 

Eclipse Track and Field Club is a safe place for all the athletes that join us. We don't judge you, we don't condemn you, we accept you for who you are and we help you grow. We try to shape you to be a better person in life and for your future. We understand that sometimes life is hard, sometimes you feel alone in the world, that you are human and that you too will make mistakes. It's not about the mistakes, it's about the journey. My business is very much a reflection of me and how I want to live my life going forward. Treat everyone fairly with compassion, without judgment, and give them a little piece of yourself along the way. You never know what impact you can have on someone else until you try. 

Cathy Barry (The Interviewer)

I want to close this off with your favorite quote or inspiration?

Cathy Barry (The Interviewee)

Wow, that's hard. There are so many quotes that I really feel speak to me as a person. There are also so many people whom I look to for inspiration. The funny thing is that some of those people aren't famous and most of you wouldn't even know who they are. But in my heart, I know who they are and they fill me with inspiration to carry on. It's the day to day people you meet that influence your life in a way that fills you with joy. Those are the people that inspire me. The quiet ones that just give you that smile, they give you that encouragement when you need it, they listen to you, they don't judge you but rather they understand. I find the people that inspire me the most are those who are honest and true and they challenge me the most. I cherish all of those individuals that have graced my life.  

As for a quote I really like this one from John F. Kennedy:

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Robert F. Kennedy









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